From custom to law, an economic rationale behind the black lettering

Guido Rossi, Salvatore Spagano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article employs the number of rule recipients in order to explain the transformation of some customs into laws. The publication of rules may mark the reaching of the threshold number beyond which the spontaneous rule leaves room for the State intervention. In addition, the publication resolves a couple of questions that Hayek left unresolved. Examples are provided from ancient merchant customs and contemporary international law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1109-1124
JournalJournal of Economic Issues
Issue number4
Early online date27 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • spontaneous rules
  • imposed rules
  • Hayek


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