Law and Economics: Contemporary Approaches
11 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2016 Last revised: 20 Aug 2016
Date Written: August 13, 2016
A relatively narrow version of Law and Economics has dominated public policy for several decades. This school of thought has mainly focused on neoclassical microeconomics. It fails to recognize the pluralism of contemporary economics in general, and the relevance of macroeconomics in particular. So-called “market forces” are thoroughly intertwined with law and cannot be understood without some reference to history, sociology, psychology, and other social sciences. It is time for legal scholars to develop a law and economics curriculum that catches up with the advance of economics as a discipline.
The urgent challenges of the 21st Century also call for a new Law and Economics. Solutions to problems such as extreme inequality, climate change, deindustrialization, infrastructure deterioration, underdevelopment, and financial instability will depend on deepening understandings of how economics is interrelated with complex legal rules and legal institutions. Lawyers with a more advanced and nuanced understanding of economics will be far better poised to help solve these problems than those lulled into thinking that simple neoclassicism reflects all that economics can offer to law.
A new casebook, developed by the Association for the Promotion of Political Economy and Law, will reflect these concerns. The attached piece, written in response to Yale Law School’s Conference on Law & Inequality, describes the scope and aims of the casebook project. Martha McCluskey, Frank Pasquale, Jennifer Taub, and Faith Stevelman will be editing the casebook, to be compiled from contributions from leading scholars focusing on their substantive areas of expertise.
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