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NWO-VIDI research project

2007-2011, Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci

Fiat Lex: The Evolution of Lawmaking

The goal of the Fiat Lex project is to understand why lawmaking institutions change over time and what effect these changes have had on the laws created by them. Roman law is an important (maybe, the most important) building block of western legal systems. Moreover, Roman law spans a period of over a thousand years, and its study relies on a centuries-long tradition of scholarly attention. It is by far the most studied and best documented ancient legal system. On the one hand (learning about the past), the economic study of Roman law caters to the demand of historians for a clarification of the legal-economic mechanisms operating within the ancient world. In this sense, legal scholarship and economics are used in order to shed light on the past. On the other hand (learning from the past), Roman law can be used as a natural experiment about different modes of lawmaking.