The Economist's new series on big economic ideas: Coase call

Submitted by Tomasz Mielniczuk on Sun, 07/30/2017 - 06:14

If markets are so good at directing resources, why do firms exist?

The Economist has its take on explaining well-known law & econ concept of the theory of the firm. The article on Coase, citing Oliver Williamson, Oliver Hart, Bengt Holmstrom, Armen Alchian and Harold Demsetz, is the first in their summer series on big economic ideas. Well written - highly recommended.  

A biography of Richard Posner by William Domnarski

Submitted by Tomasz Mielniczuk on Sun, 09/11/2016 - 17:24


Writing an intellectual biography of Richard Posner is a formidable task. Becoming acquainted with his output alone means getting through over 3000 of Posner's judicial opinions, reading more than fifty of his books, and about five hundred scholarly papers. William Dominarski took up the gauntlet and has written the first full-length biography of the 77-year old Promethean of Law and Economics. The book is available here. Some (somewhat mixed) reviews here and here.

Law and Economics by Cooter and Ulen Now Available for Free Download

Submitted by Tomasz Mielniczuk on Thu, 07/14/2016 - 06:25

A pdf version of the latest edition (6th) of the classic textbook by Robert D. Cooter and Thomas Ulen has been generously posted online and is available for free download here.

Interestingly, the authors announced that they intend the textbook to become a living document with incremental changes, updates and supporting materials to follow continuously:

Calabresi discusses his new book on the future in law and economics

Submitted by Tomasz Mielniczuk on Tue, 02/02/2016 - 14:47

Here is a footage of judge Guido Calabresi (Yale Law School) discussing his life and his new book The Future of Law and Economics: Essays in Reform and Recollection. The event took place on February 1, 2016 at the National Constitution Center.

The discussion, moderated by Michael J. Gerhardt (the University of North Carolina School of Law), is more a collection of anecdotes than a book presentation.

Some gems from the lecture:

Some Statistics on Law Faculty

Submitted by Tomasz Mielniczuk on Thu, 01/21/2016 - 07:34

Orin Kerr (George Washington University Law School), writing for the Volokh Conspiracy, reports some interesting statistics on average productivity (in articles per year) and average citation rates (in journal citations per year) of the law professors at different career stages. Data includes all law faculty at the “top 16″ schools and comes from the recent paper by James Cleith Phillips (Berkely Law).

Yet another problem with the U.S. News Law School Rankings?

Submitted by Tomasz Mielniczuk on Tue, 01/19/2016 - 08:34

In the times of the great collapse in law school applications, the widely criticized US News law school rankings seem to be helping lower-ranked schools to stay afloat. Sounds counterintuitive? Usually, rankings should make it harder for the schools at the bottom. Ian Ayres, from Yale Law School, has an intriguing, data-backed explanation for this dynamic.

In short, with the decline of the number of applicants, the top law schools cannot simply lower their admission standards for the fear of lowering their ranking:

Fellowship in Behavioral Law and Economics

Submitted by Tomasz Mielniczuk on Sun, 01/17/2016 - 14:27

The Univeristy of Chicago Law School invites applications for the Fellowship in Behavioral Law and Economics. It is a one-year appointment at the rank of Instructor, to begin July 1 or August 1, 2016. Applications will be considered until the position is filled, or until June 30, 2016, whichever comes first. 

From the description:

Richard Posner has a new book on the academy and the judiciary.

Submitted by Tomasz Mielniczuk on Sat, 01/16/2016 - 05:09


The book is availabe here. From the back cover:

Judges and legal scholars talk past one another, if they have any conversation at all. Academics couch their criticisms of judicial decisions in theoretical terms, which leads many judges―at the risk of intellectual stagnation―to dismiss most academic discourse as opaque and divorced from reality. In Divergent Paths, Richard Posner turns his attention to this widening gap within the legal profession, reflecting on its causes and consequences and asking what can be done to close or at least narrow it.

Eric Posner on the First Amendment

Submitted by Daniel Pi on Fri, 12/18/2015 - 03:18

In a recent article for, Eric Posner argues for First Amendment restrictions, due to the threat of ISIS propagandizing. Posner writes:

Consider a law that makes it a crime to access websites that glorify, express support for, or provide encouragement for ISIS or support recruitment by ISIS; to distribute links to those websites or videos, images, or text taken from those websites; or to encourage people to access such websites by supplying them with links or instructions. 

Williamson Prize

Submitted by Daniel Pi on Wed, 12/16/2015 - 01:58

The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization (JLEO) has awarded the 2015 Williamson Prize to Jordi Blanes i Vidal and Clare Leaver for their paper "Bias in Open Peer-Review: Evidence from the English Superior Courts."

The Oliver E. Williamson Prize for Best Article annual prize awards $1,500 to the author of the most original and innovative paper accepted for publication in JLEO during the year preceding the award. 

Most Cited L&E Papers

Submitted by Daniel Pi on Sun, 11/29/2015 - 13:52

imageThis list ranks the most cited papers in Law and Economics. It was compiled using statitics from Google Scholar, which is admittedly a very crude metric (e.g., Google Scholar seems to count citations from unpublished preprints). Nevertheless, absent a significant investment in time and resources, it would be difficult to obtain more precise numbers.

Posner on regulation of sexual behavior

Submitted by Tomasz Mielniczuk on Sun, 11/29/2015 - 12:42

Above the law reports on the Richard Posner's recent re-review of The Case for Same-Sex Marriage: From Sexual Liberty to Civilised Commitment, a book pubished in 1996 by Yale Law School Professor William Eskridge. Posner reviewed this book before in 1997. He was asked to look at it again in the light of this year's Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which invalidated prohibitions of same-sex marriage in all states. Posner traces the evolution of thinking about homosexuality in American society.

Google Accused of Buying L&E Profs

Submitted by Daniel Pi on Sun, 11/29/2015 - 11:32

ImageDavid Dayen of reports that Google Inc., the company that forced you to create a Google+ account no matter how much you didn't want it, has been attempting to gain influence in the government and courts in a roundabout way: by pouring buckets of money into the coffers of academia. Specifically, the Law and Economics Center at George Mason University.

L&E Journal Rankings

Submitted by Daniel Pi on Sat, 11/28/2015 - 13:54

ImageThe ranking list below uses data gathered by Washington and Lee University School of Law, which covers the period 2007-2014. We have chosen to list only journals known to publish research in Law and Economics regularly (though not necessarily exclusively). To avoid distorting the picture, we have not included law reviews and pure economics journals, both of which occasionally publish Law and Economics research. 

Conspiracy Theories: In Defense of the Crazies

Submitted by Daniel Pi on Thu, 11/26/2015 - 09:35

Protective Tin Foil HatsIn a much talked about and frequently cited paper, Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule explore the topic of conspiracy theories as a social problem, speculating on possible remedies to their emergence and proliferation (Note: Sunstein has also recently published a book touching on the topic—however I shall restrict my remarks to the 2008 paper only). I should be the last person to defend the activities of conspiracy theorists, insofar as I regard their practices to be epistemically unsound, profoundly unscientific, and unbearably annoying. Moreover, I am inclined to regard such individuals with extraordinary personal contempt, for as any sane person who has had the misfortune of engaging one of these specimens in conversation will already know, they possess a singularly potent combination of aggressive obnoxiousness and howling ignorance.