Law and economics programs at US law schools

If you’ve had anything to do with law schools in the United States in the past 10 to 20 years or so, you’ve likely at some point encountered at least one law and economics program, and possibly several. Here are some examples that you’ve perhaps come across:

  • The John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business at Harvard Law School: This program was created in 1985 and renamed after Olin in 1997, with a grant of $6 million from the John M. Olin Foundation; over the course of two decades the program received more than $18 million from the Olin Foundation. The program’s founder and director is Steven Shavell, who has a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT (1973) and is a co-founder and past president of the American Law and Economics Association (ALEA).
  • John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics at Stanford Law School: This program was created in 1987 with an initial grant of $871,000 from the Olin Foundation, followed in subsequent years with additional grants, including two of more than $1 million each, in 1999 and 2001 and $3 million in 2005. The program’s founder and director is Mitchell Polinsky, who has a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT (1973) and M.S.L. from Yale Law School (1976) and is a co-founder and past president of ALEA.
  • The John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics and Public Policy at Yale Law School: This program received its first grant from the Olin Foundation in 1985 and over the following two decades received a total of $11 million. The program’s co-director Susan Rose-Ackerman has a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale (1970); co-director George Priest has a J.D. from the University of Chicago (1973) and is a co-founder and past president of ALEA.
  • The John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics at the University of Virginia School of Law: Between 1987 and 2005 this program received grants from the Olin Foundation totaling just under $4 million. The program’s director, Jason Johnston, has a J.D. (1981) and Ph.D. (1984) in economics, both from the University of Michigan and is a former member of the Board of Directors of ALEA.

Examples of other law and economics programs include: University of Chicago, Cornell, New York University, Columbia, Emory, Georgetown, Berkeley, UCLA, Notre Dame, and Vanderbilt, as well as Toronto, Canada.

Each of these programs, and the others across the country, describe their purpose and activities in a similar fashion: to promote interest in the subject of law and economics, namely by supporting faculty and student research, issuing research papers, holding conferences, lectures, and seminars, and, in many cases, awarding fellowships to students. The programs pride themselves on being interdisciplinary, notably across law, economics, business and political science.

The program at USC Gould merits special mention. Formerly the “Center for Law, Economics and Organization” and re-named “Center for Law and Social Science,” it received grants from the Olin Foundation totaling just under $1.5 million. The Center is lead by Gillian Hadfield, who has held four Olin Fellowships. Hadfield has a J.D. (1988) and a Ph.D. (1990), both from Stanford University where Mitchell Polinsky served on her thesis committee. Hadfield is the author of Rules for a Flat World: Why Humans Invented Law and How to Reinvent It For a Complex Global Economy, a book which calls for the privatization of regulation in a manner comparable to how other public services such as prisons, water, and primary and secondary education have been privatized in recent years. Hadfield is a former member of the Board of  Directors of ALEA. Today she serves as a member of the American Bar Association’s newly appointed Commission on the Future of Legal Education; In this position she is poised, together with the other members of the Commission, to have significant influence upon the evolution of legal education and law schools across the country.

The common origin of the law and economics programs established at law schools around the country is the subject of the following posts:

Law and Economics Programs at US Law Schools: Conceived in Opposition to Civil Rights and Dedicated to the Proposition that Majorities Should Not Rule: Part 1

Law and Economics Programs at US Law Schools: Conceived in Opposition to Civil Rights and Dedicated to the Proposition that Majorities Should Not Rule: Part 2

Law and Economics Programs at US Law Schools: Conceived in Opposition to Civil Rights and Dedicated to the Proposition that Majorities Should Not Rule: Part 3

Law and Economics Programs at US Law Schools: Conceived in Opposition to Civil Rights and Dedicated to the Proposition that Majorities Should Not Rule: Part 4

Other related posts on this site:

Chapter 27: Rules for a Flat World (Or Regulatory Dystopia)

Access to Justice vs. Revenue: A Zero-Sum Game?

You Asked For Research? You Got It! Now What Are You Going to Do With It?

Democracy? It’s Messy. Who Needs It?

The Privatization of “Legal Infrastructure,” the End of Net Neutrality, and the Steady Erosion of Constitutional Protections

Law and Economics Programs at US Law Schools: Conceived in Opposition to Civil Rights and Dedicated to the Proposition that Majorities Should Not Rule: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4

[ssba]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *