Law, Environment, and the 'Nondismal' Social Sciences

Posted: 31 Oct 2012

See all articles by William Boyd

William Boyd

UCLA School of Law

Douglas A. Kysar

Yale University - Law School

Jeffrey J. Rachlinski

Cornell Law School

Date Written: December 2012


Over the past 30 years, the influence of economics over the study of environmental law and policy has expanded considerably, becoming in the process the predominant framework for analyzing regulations that address pollution, natural resource use, and other environmental issues. This review seeks to complement the expansion of economic reasoning and methodology within the field of environmental law and policy by identifying insights to be gleaned from various “nondismal” social sciences. In particular, three areas of inquiry are highlighted as illustrative of interdisciplinary work that might help to complement law and economics and, in some cases, compensate for it: the study of how human individuals perceive, judge, and decide; the observation and interpretation of how knowledge schemes are created, used, and regulated; and the analysis of how states and other actors coordinate through international and global regulatory regimes. The hope is to provide some examples of how environmental law and policy research can be improved by deeper and more diverse engagement with social science.

Suggested Citation

Boyd, William and Kysar, Douglas A. and Rachlinski, Jeffrey John, Law, Environment, and the 'Nondismal' Social Sciences (December 2012). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 8, pp. 183-211, 2012, Available at SSRN: or

Douglas A. Kysar

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Jeffrey John Rachlinski

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-5878 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics