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This essay is the second in a series of three in which Richard Posner and Francesco Parisi trace the forty-year history of the economic analysis of law. The first (published in n. 147) reconstructed the origins of the economic analysis of law. The third (in n. 149) will be dedicated to the economic analysis of public and criminal law. This second study examines all the various aspects of the literature on the economic analysis of private and commercial law, starting from Ronald Coase’s seminal studies on the theory of property rights which underpins the discipline. In the course of time, the economic analysis of law has been applied to a series of different research fields: contractual law, civil responsibility, family law, commercial and corporate law. The authors mention and discuss the most significant contributions in each of these fields.