The University of Chicago Law School on Oct. 11 launched a major new initiative — Law and Economics 2.0— to expand the scholarship and influence of law and economics in the United States and broaden its impact throughout the world. The Law School is drawing on its storied history as the pioneer in a field that transformed antitrust, tort, contract, corporate and property law, and once again will open broad, new areas of study, ranging from climate change and immigration law to the constitutions of emerging markets and election law.
The Law School, with support from donors and the University, will dedicate significant new resources to the Law and Economics 2.0 Initiative, including $1 million annually to support students, faculty and an array of programs. The centerpiece of Law and Economics 2.0 is the new Institute for Law and Economics, which will bring together 34 faculty members and build strong partnerships with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Department of Economics.
The Institute will be the hub for five new programs: the Globalizing Law and Economics Initiative; a judicial training program; support for experimental law and economics; a program to promote joint empirical research and teaching among the law, business and economics faculties; and a new JD/PhD program in law and economics. The director of the new Institute is Omri Ben-Shahar, the Frank and Bernice J. Greenberg Professor of Law.
“Our goal, quite simply, is to transform legal systems around the world, and push the frontiers of knowledge forward,” said Michael Schill, dean of the Law School. The application of economics to the study and practice of law began in the early 1930s at the University of Chicago Law School, and became a central part of its curriculum in the 1950s and 1960s. By the 1980s, it had begun to transform entire bodies of jurisprudence. “Law and economics, the most important legal theory of the past 50 years, was born in Hyde Park,” noted Schill. “With the Law and Economics 2.0 Initiative, we are ensuring our preeminent role for the next 50 years.”