Explaining the Importance of Public Choice for Law

The next generation of government officials, business leaders, and members of civil society likely will draw from the current pool of law school students. These students often lack a foundation of the theoretical and analytical tools necessary to understand law’s interplay with government. This highlights the importance of public choice analysis. By framing issues through a public choice lens, these students will learn the dynamics of effective decision making within various institutional settings. Filling the void of how to explain the decision-making process of institutional actors in legal settings is Public Choice Concepts and Applications in Law by Maxwell Steams and Todd Zywicki. Normally, casebooks are not endeavors worthy of a book review. Mainly, they collect cases and provide introductory and concluding comments that provide context and analysis of cases. In sharp contrast, Stearns and Zywicki provide a research tool and resource for students and faculty to understand public choice and law. Public Choice Concepts is a book that focuses on theory, analysis, and case studies rather than edited versions of cases as its primary pedagogical device. This alone should excite students who have read enough cases and yearn for class materials that allow them to begin to apply analysis of their own.