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Public Choice Concepts and Applications in Law:

The manuscript for my new coursebook with Maxwell Stearns, Public Choice Concepts and Applications in Law, was sent off to West on Monday. We expect page proofs in September or thereabouts with hard copy shipping in October. It will be published by West.

If you are interested in seeing the book for possible adoption to teach the course drop me an email and I'll get you on our distribution list. The book will certainly be available for use for Spring 2010 semester. If you are interested in teaching the course during Fall 2009 we can try to make that work too. We already have all the materials posted on a TWEN page for download in manuscript form.

The book is suitable for teaching as a paper-writing seminar or as a course with a final exam. It is also suitable for use to teach a similar course in Economics or Political Science. It is also suitable, I think, for those who have been teaching classes in Law & Positive Political Theory, as we integrate those materials into this project. We have organized the book conceptually so that even though the case illustrations are drawn from American law it can be used in foreign countries as well.

The book will be published in paperback so the price should be affordable. Drop me a line if you want more information or are interested in adoption.

Pyrrho:
Certainly sounds interesting. I've always thought that Riker and Arrow should be required reading in law schools, where courses often ignore or give overly-simplistic accounts of political processes.
6.10.2009 9:57am
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
I look forward to reading the book. Such a book is needed, and I hope this one addresses my concerns, but I remain skeptical until I can examine it.

Public choice presents many problems for law that law has not solved very well. It tends to encourage the making of political decisions in ways that conflict with quality or merit. Law tends to be the result of such a political process, rather than the result of the kind of intelligent systems analysis that is needed.

Our legal tradition does provide, however, about the only mechanism that has ever been found that can avoid the public choice problem: sortition, which is (supposed to be) used in the selection of trial and grand juries, but which today is too often not used at all for grand juries. As we have seen, neither election nor appointment avoids the public choice problem, although there is an opportunity to apply the insights of sortition to the selection of judges, by appointing them not to particular courts, but to a general pool of judges, randomly assigned to courts and cases.
6.10.2009 10:04am
Allan (mail):
For most of us troglodytes, this post means nothing.

That is, I would not even know if I am interested in buying the book.

Any help would be appreciated.
6.10.2009 10:35am
Oren:
If the interest is getting a cheap version, why paperback and not electronic? Dead trees are so 20th century.
6.10.2009 10:44am
geokstr (mail):

The book will be published in paperback so the price should be affordable.

Now you've done it. You will be roundly and rightly condemned by the legions of your Marxist peers for stooping to the unseemly, capitalist-roader dirty trick known as so-called "price competition". How do you expect them to maintain their opulent lifestyles that allow them the leisure time to rail against the evils of capitalism if they can't sell their own textbooks at proper monopolistic prices.

I suppose you've gone and written it clearly, concisely and lucidly as well, without the absolutely necessary concepts of deconstructionism, reductionism, or even revisionism. What, you actually want people to understand what you've written?

Fascist.
6.10.2009 10:53am
Leebrick (mail):
I had the pleasure of taking a course using this book as a seminar with Prof. Stearns while he was visiting University of Florida. I can't say the content has been applied practically in private practice, but I remember it being an intellectually interesting course.
6.10.2009 12:01pm
Oren:

You will be roundly and rightly condemned by the legions of your Marxist peers for stooping to the unseemly, capitalist-roader dirty trick known as so-called "price competition".

My impression (not based on any fact) was that authors got paid the same for paperback/hardcover editions and that the difference in price was in the manufacturing.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.
6.10.2009 1:45pm
geokstr (mail):

Oren:

You will be roundly and rightly condemned by the legions of your Marxist peers for stooping to the unseemly, capitalist-roader dirty trick known as so-called "price competition".

My impression (not based on any fact) was that authors got paid the same for paperback/hardcover editions and that the difference in price was in the manufacturing.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

For cryin' out loud, Oren, it was a joke.

Is SirCastro the only one around here allowed to use sarcasm, and only when it comes from the politically correct direction?
6.10.2009 2:07pm
Oren:
I'm sorry I misread you.

My legitimate question remains: do authors make more from hardcover?
6.10.2009 2:09pm
geokstr (mail):
Oren:

Here's a discussion of book royalties:
ROYALTY CALCULATIONS IN BOOK CONTRACTS

Apparently, royalties are based on a whole slew of possibilities, probably varying directly with the popularity of the author. It does seem to say that most royalties are a percent of the "price" or net profit (as variously defined) of the book, so a lower priced book would necessarily result in lower royalties.

I spent 8 years as accounting manager of 20th Century Fox Video, also responsible for the audit support for participations (royalties) for stars, directors, etc. How the author of the link above describes book royalties is exactly how it worked in the film industry as well.

Contracts varied all over the map, with the most "bankable" stars getting the best deals. In addition to up front payments, often in the 7+ figures, some got a percent of the gross, others a percent of the net, the definition of "net" being also infinitely variable, depending on the relative negotiating power of the parties. "Net" could even be defined for lesser players in such as way as to mean "when hell freezes over, you get yours".

Then the fees again varied all over the map for the type of revenue stream for pretty much forever, starting with domestic theatrical release, then international theatrical, followed six months later by rental video sales, then six months after that by video sales, pay-per-view TV, premium cable, general cable and finally free TV several years later.

A friend was an actor for several years on a now-defunct soap (Young and the Restless, I think) like 20 years ago. Recently he recieved a royalty check for a little over a dollar.

No one that I am aware of got a flat fee per unit regardless of the type of release though.
6.10.2009 3:06pm
Zywicki (mail):
Leebrick:
I'm sure that Prof. Stearns will be delighted to hear that you liked his course! I should stress though that this is an almost entirely new book. We tried to keep the good stuff from Stearns's earlier book but make the whole work shorter, more direct, and more applied to actual cases and statutes. So--I hope--we have the best of the old but in a new and improved version!
6.11.2009 9:32am
Zywicki (mail):
Pyrrho:
Riker and Arrow are certainly starring actors in our book. We draw on all of the different traditions of social choice and public choice: Rochester School (Riker), Arrow, Chicago School, and Virginia School (Buchanan and Tullock), along with a lot of the modern positive political theory analysis of law, such as Weingast, Fiorina, etc.
6.11.2009 9:34am
geokstr (mail):

geokstr:

Apparently, royalties are based on a whole slew of possibilities, probably varying directly with the popularity of the author. It does seem to say that most royalties are a percent of the "price" or net profit (as variously defined) of the book, so a lower priced book would necessarily result in lower royalties per book.

Corrected in bold to make it more clear.

However, that does not preclude that the total royalties could be higher from a much more cheaply priced anything, because total sales could be higher by attracting those unwilling to pay a high price.

Books, like videos and lots of other consumer goods, are sold via a marketing scheme known as "skimming" (at least it was back when I took marketing in the 1970's. The initial sale price is set very high to attract the high-end consumer who cares little about price and has a need to be first in owning something and/or is unwilling to wait for the price to come down.
6.11.2009 1:12pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
Congratulations. I just finished the last chapter of a novel, and it's an exhilarating experience.

Of course my writing group takes a harsh "but what have you done for us lately" attitude, so now I have to get cracking on my next one.
6.11.2009 3:21pm
Ezra H (mail):
I took the course a few semesters ago from Prof. Zywicki; it was one of the highlight classes in my J.D. I can recommend the book heartily.
6.11.2009 5:51pm

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