Archives For george mason university school of law

Henry Manne was a great man, and a great father. He was, for me as for many others, one of the most important intellectual influences in my life. I will miss him dearly.

Following is his official obituary. RIP, dad.

Henry Girard Manne died on January 17, 2015 at the age of 86. A towering figure in legal education, Manne was one of the founders of the Law and Economics movement, the 20th century’s most important and influential legal academic discipline.

Manne is survived by his wife, Bobbie Manne; his children, Emily and Geoffrey Manne; two grandchildren, Annabelle and Lily Manne; and two nephews, Neal and Burton Manne. He was preceded in death by his parents, Geoffrey and Eva Manne, and his brother, Richard Manne.

Henry Manne was born on May 10, 1928, in New Orleans. The son of merchant parents, he was raised in Memphis, Tennessee. He attended Central High School in Memphis, and graduated with a BA in economics from Vanderbilt University in 1950. Manne received a JD from the University of Chicago in 1952, and a doctorate in law (SJD) from Yale University in 1966. He also held honorary degrees from Seattle University, Universidad Francesco Marroquin in Guatemala and George Mason University.

Following law school Manne served in the Air Force JAG Corps, stationed at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois and McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. He practiced law briefly in Chicago before beginning his teaching career at St. Louis University in 1956. In subsequent years he also taught at the University of Wisconsin, George Washington University, the University of Rochester, Stanford University, the University of Miami, Emory University, George Mason University, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern University.

Throughout his career Henry Manne ’s writings originated, developed or anticipated an extraordinary range of ideas and themes that have animated the past forty years of law and economics scholarship. For his work, Manne was named a Life Member of the American Law and Economics Association and, along with Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase, and federal appeals court judges Richard Posner and Guido Calabresi, one of the four Founders of Law and Economics.

In the 1950s and 60s Manne pioneered the application of economic principles to the study of corporations and corporate law, authoring seminal articles that transformed the field. His article, “Mergers and the Market for Corporate Control,” published in 1965, is credited with opening the field of corporate law to economic analysis and with anticipating what has come to be known as the Efficient Market Hypothesis (for which economist Eugene Fama was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2013). Manne’s 1966 book, Insider Trading and the Stock Market was the first scholarly work to challenge the logic of insider trading laws, and remains the most influential book on the subject today.

In 1968 Manne moved to the University of Rochester with the aim of starting a new law school. Manne anticipated many of the current criticisms that have been aimed at legal education in recent years, and proposed a law school that would provide rigorous training in the economic analysis of law as well as specialized training in specific areas of law that would prepare graduates for practice immediately out of law school. Manne’s proposal for a new law school, however, drew the ire of incumbent law schools in upstate New York, which lobbied against accreditation of the new program.

While at Rochester, in 1971, Manne created the “Economics Institute for Law Professors,” in which, for the first time, law professors were offered intensive instruction in microeconomics with the aim of incorporating economics into legal analysis and theory. The Economics Institute was later moved to the University of Miami when Manne founded the Law &Economics Center there in 1974. While at Miami, Manne also began the John M. Olin Fellows Program in Law and Economics, which provided generous scholarships for professional economists to earn a law degree. That program (and its subsequent iterations) has gone on to produce dozens of professors of law and economics, as well as leading lawyers and influential government officials.

The creation of the Law & Economics Center (which subsequently moved to Emory University and then to George Mason Law School, where it continues today), was one of the foundational events in the Law and Economics Movement. Of particular importance to the development of US jurisprudence, its offerings were expanded to include economics courses for federal judges. At its peak a third of the federal bench and four members of the Supreme Court had attended at least one of its programs, and every major law school in the country today counts at least one law and economics scholar among its faculty. Nearly every legal field has been influenced by its scholarship and teaching.

When Manne became Dean of George Mason Law School in Arlington, Virginia, in 1986, he finally had the opportunity to implement the ideas he had originally developed at Rochester. Manne’s move to George Mason united him with economist James Buchanan, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1986 for his path-breaking work in the field of Public Choice economics, and turned George Mason University into a global leader in law and economics. His tenure as dean of George Mason, where he served as dean until 1997 and George Mason University Foundation Professor until 1999, transformed legal education by integrating a rigorous economic curriculum into the law school, and he remade George Mason Law School into one of the most important law schools in the country. The school’s Henry G. Manne Moot Court Competition for Law & Economics and the Henry G. Manne Program in Law and Economics Studies are named for him.

Manne was celebrated for his independence of mind and respect for sound reasoning and intellectual rigor, instead of academic pedigree. Soon after he left Rochester to start the Law and Economics Center, he received a call from Yale faculty member Ralph Winter (who later became a celebrated judge on the United States Court of Appeals) offering Manne a faculty position. As he recounted in an interview several years later, Manne told Winter, “Ralph, you’re two weeks and five years too late.” When Winter asked Manne what he meant, Manne responded, “Well, two weeks ago, I agreed that I would start this new center on law and economics.” When Winter asked, “And five years?” Manne responded, “And you’re five years too late for me to give a damn.”

The academic establishment’s slow and skeptical response to the ideas of law and economics eventually persuaded Manne that reform of legal education was unlikely to come from within the established order and that it would be necessary to challenge the established order from without. Upon assuming the helm at George Mason, Dean Manne immediately drew to the school faculty members laboring at less-celebrated law schools whom Manne had identified through his economics training seminars for law professors, including several alumni of his Olin Fellows programs. Today the law school is recognized as one of the world’s leading centers of law and economics.

Throughout his career, Manne was an outspoken champion of free markets and liberty. His intellectual heroes and intellectual peers were classical liberal economists like Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig Mises, Armen Alchian and Harold Demsetz, and these scholars deeply influenced his thinking. As economist Donald Boudreax said of Dean Manne, “I think what Henry saw in Alchian – and what Henry’s own admirers saw in Henry – was the reality that each unfailingly understood that competition in human affairs is an intrepid force…”

In his teaching, his academic writing, his frequent op-eds and essays, and his work with organizations like the Cato Institute, the Liberty Fund, the Institute for Humane Studies, and the Mont Pelerin Society, among others, Manne advocated tirelessly for a clearer understanding of the power of markets and competition and the importance of limited government and economically sensible regulation.

After leaving George Mason in 1999, Manne remained an active scholar and commenter on public affairs as a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal. He continued to provide novel insights on corporate law, securities law, and the reform of legal education. Following his retirement Manne became a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ave Maria Law School in Naples, Florida. The Liberty Fund, of Indianapolis, Indiana, recently published The Collected Works of Henry G. Manne in three volumes.

For some, perhaps more than for all of his intellectual accomplishments Manne will be remembered as a generous bon vivant who reveled in the company of family and friends. He was an avid golfer (who never scheduled a conference far from a top-notch golf course), a curious traveler, a student of culture, a passionate eater (especially of ice cream and Peruvian rotisserie chicken from El Pollo Rico restaurant in Arlington, Virginia), and a gregarious debater (who rarely suffered fools gladly). As economist Peter Klein aptly remarked: “He was a charming companion and correspondent — clever, witty, erudite, and a great social and cultural critic, especially of the strange world of academia, where he plied his trade for five decades but always as a slight outsider.”

Scholar, intellectual leader, champion of individual liberty and free markets, and builder of a great law school—Manne’s influence on law and legal education in the Twentieth Century may be unrivaled. Today, the institutions he built and the intellectual movement he led continue to thrive and to draw sustenance from his intellect and imagination.

There will be a memorial service at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia on Friday, February 13, at 4:00 pm. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in his honor to the Law & Economics Center at George Mason University School of Law, 3301 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22201 or online at

The famous epitaph that adorns Sir Christopher Wren’s tomb in St. Paul’s Cathedral – Si monumentum requiris, circumspice (“if you seek his monument, look around you”) – applies equally well to Henry Manne, who passed away on January 17.  Wren left a living memorial to his work in St. Paul’s and the many other churches he designed in the City of London.  Manne’s living memorial consists in the law and economics institutions which he created and nurtured during a long and productive career.

Manne is justly deemed one of the three founders of the law and economics movement, along with Guido Calabresi and the late Ronald Coase.  Manne’s original work on the theory of the firm and the efficiency justifications for insider trading was brilliant and provocative.  Of greatest lasting significance, however, was his seminal role in creating and overseeing institutions designed to propagate law and economics throughout the legal profession – such as the Law and Economics Institutes for Professors, Judges and Economists, and the Center for Law and Economics at Emory University (later moved to George Mason University).  Furthermore, with the expansion of law and economics programs to include foreign participants, law and economics insights are influencing litigation, transactions, and regulatory analysis in many countries.  Manne’s initiative and entrepreneurial spirit were a critical catalyst in helping trigger this transformation.

The one institution that is perhaps most intimately associated with Manne and his philosophy – Manne’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, if you will – is George Mason Law School in Arlington, Virginia.  When Manne became George Mason’s Dean in 1986, he arrived at a fledgling school of no particular distinction, which was overshadowed by major long-established Washington D.C. law schools.  Manne immediately went about overhauling the faculty, bringing in scholars with a strong law and economics orientation, and reinstituting the Center for Law and Economics at Mason.  Within a few years Mason Law became a magnet for first rate young law and economics scholars of a free market bent who found a uniquely collegial atmosphere at Mason.  Mason retained its law and economics orientation under subsequent deans.  Today its faculty is not only a source of pathbreaking scholarship, it is a fount of wisdom that provides innovative (and highly needed) advice to help inform and improve Washington D.C. policy debates.  This would not have been possible without Henry Manne’s academic leadership and foresight.  (Full disclosure – I have been an adjunct professor at George Mason Law School since 1991.)

Finally, I should mention that those of us who write for Truth on the Market (TOTM), not to mention countless other websites that share TOTM’s philosophical orientation, are indebted to Henry Manne for his seminal role in the law and economics movement.  I am sure that I speak for many in offering my heartfelt condolences to Henry’s son, Geoffrey Manne, the driving force behind TOTM.  Geoff, like the visitors to Christopher Wren’s masterwork, we look around us and delight in your father’s accomplishments.

Yet another loss of a giant in the world of law and economics.  On December 19, it was Robert Bork.  Today, we lost economist James M. Buchanan, Nobel laureate, George Mason professor, and one of the fathers of Public Choice economics.  Regular readers of TOTM will know that several of us–including yours truly–have been heavily influenced by the insights of Public Choice (see, e.g., here and here).

I was alerted to Buchanan’s passing by my friend and collaborator, Virginia Law’s Charles Goetz, co-author of the Goetz & McChesney (now Goetz, McChesney & Lambert) antitrust casebook.  I asked Charlie if he’d pen a few words in honor of Buchanan, his dissertation director and mentor, and he heartily agreed to do so.  Here they are:

Nobel Laureate James McGill Buchanan has passed away and one less giant now walks the pathways of Economics, pathways that he extended and widened.  Jim was my dissertation director, my mentor, my sometime colleague and coauthor—and my friend. There is an old compliment that denotes a man “a gentleman and a scholar.”  Jim was certainly both, to the quintessential degree.

I often reflect on how fortunate I’ve been with many things, but certainly among the luckiest of things was to be an Economics graduate student at the University of Virginia in the early 1960’s.  It was a golden time when Jim and a handful of others were midwifing the birth of what came to be known as Public Choice economics.  I got to watch and listen as great men did great things.

I remember what an eye-opening experience it was for me to take Buchanan’s year-long course in Public Finance.  He was an incredibly effective teacher.  He was far from a classroom showman, but had the genius of asking such devilishly interesting and revelatory questions.  I have acknowledged publicly on a number of occasions that, if he could charge me for the intellectual value-added that he created in me, he would be owed a very large sum indeed.  But I am profoundly in his debt, even if not in a pecuniary sense.

In the days and weeks to come, others will write many highly complimentary things about James M. Buchanan as a scholar. Deservedly so.  I would have little new to add to that outpouring.  Still, there is a revealing anecdote about Jim as a man that can come only from me, the sole witness and participant.

Buchanan generally had a very formal relationship with students and I understandably regarded him with awe and no little bit of fear.  But, one day, he gave me a great big smile and told me a story that made me appreciate, for the first time, the lurking, devilish sense of humor that went with this proper Tennessee Gentleman.

“Goetz,” he said, “you’re a New Yorker, aren’t you?  But, . . . you’re a pretty good fellow anyway.”

“I often dislike New Yorkers because they act like obnoxious know-it-alls.  There was a New Yorker like that in my class at Navy Officer Candidate school during World War II.  This fellow didn’t have much use for a simple Tennessee boy like me and tried to lord it over us country boys.  But I fixed him.”

“At the end of our OCS course, the Navy gave us a battery of tests that it used in allocating new ensigns to their first duty assignment.  I started a rumor that this NY fellow had come out second in the whole class.  At first, he denied it since, of course, he had no basis to believe it.  Gradually, though, he began to accept congratulations and to puff up more and more about the compliments.”

“Then I started the second rumor, about our further training to battle the Japanese: the first three men in the class were being sent to One-man Submarine School.”

Somehow, I saw Jim with different eyes after that story.  Maybe you will as well.

Requiescat in pace, J. M. Buchanan, the little-known joker and man of honed wit, wit in more ways than the scholarly.  In the midst of our sadness, maybe a chuckle is good medicine.

Well-said, Charlie.

Today, thirty-one prominent deans, professors, and former government officials who specialize in law and economics and antitrust submitted a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee supporting Josh Wright‘s nomination to be a Commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission.

The letter, which is addressed to Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV and Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, strongly urges confirmation of Josh, praising him for his knoweldge and his many accomplishments.  Here’s just a small snippet:

As a young professor, Josh has a well-deserved reputation for producing rigorous, high-quality scholarship that explores important issues in competition and consumer protection policy.  His scholarly work reflects that rare professor who possesses impeccable academic and intellectual integrity in combination with thoroughgoing knowledge in economic theory, econometric and empirical skill, and knowledge of relevant legal institutions. The rigor of his scholarly work is second to none, because it is truly bottom-up, data-driven in its conclusions. As a result, his scholarly output at this early stage in his academic career, in terms of its quantity, quality, and impact, is unsurpassed within his field.

. . . .

As a result of his rigorous and scrupulous analysis of data according to well-established empirical and economic methodologies, Professor Wright is widely regarded as a top antitrust law scholar of his generation, and his scholarly efforts have had a significant impact in the academic and public policy debates.  Top antitrust and law and economics scholars, moreover, consistently cite his scholarship, and Professor Herbert Hovenkamp, the author of the leading antitrust treatise, has described Josh as a “top scholar of competition policy and intellectual property.”

I can attest that this is all well-deserved praise, as I have learned much from Josh in the years that we have been colleagues at George Mason.  I will be very sorry to lose him as a colleague, but I can think of no other better person for this position.  I wish him all the luck in his confirmation hearing tomorrow, but he doesn’t need it, because as the letter rightly concludes, his is “an easy case for the Senate’s approval of his nomination.”

Read the whole letter here.

My former student and recent George Mason Law graduate (and co-author, here) Angela Diveley has posted Clarifying State Action Immunity Under the Antitrust Laws: FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc.  It is a look at the state action doctrine and the Supreme Court’s next chance to grapple with it in Phoebe Putney.  here is the abstract:

The tension between federalism and national competition policy has come to a head. The state action doctrine finds its basis in principles of federalism, permitting states to replace free competition with alternative regulatory regimes they believe better serve the public interest. Public restraints have a unique ability to undermine the regime of free competition that provides the basis of U.S.- and state-commerce policies. Nevertheless, preservation of federalism remains an important rationale for protecting such restraints. The doctrine has elusive contours, however, which have given rise to circuit splits and overbroad application that threatens to subvert the state action doctrine’s dual goals of federalism and competition. The recent Eleventh Circuit decision in FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc. epitomizes the concerns associated with misapplication of state action immunity. The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted the FTC’s petition for certiorari and now has the opportunity to more clearly define the contours of the doctrine. In Phoebe Putney, the FTC has challenged a merger it claims is the product of a sham transaction, an allegation certain to test the boundaries of the state action doctrine and implicate the interpretation of a two-pronged test designed to determine whether consumer welfare-reducing conduct taken pursuant to purported state authorization is immune from antitrust challenge. The FTC’s petition for writ of certiorari raises two issues for review. First, it presents the question concerning the appropriate interpretation of foreseeability of anticompetitive conduct. Second, the FTC presents the question whether a passive supervisory role on the state’s part can be construed as state action or whether its approval of the merger was a sham. In this paper, I seek to explicate the areas in which the state action doctrine needs clarification and to predict how the Court will decide the case in light of precedent and the principles underlying the doctrine.

Go read the whole thing.

May 21-25 the GMU LEC will be hosting its Workshop on Empirical Methods for Law Professors once again this year.  Applications are available at the links below — and more information is available here.

The Workshop on Empirical Methods for Law Professors is designed to teach law professors the conceptual and practical skills required to (1) understand and evaluate others’ empirical studies, and (2) design and implement their own empirical studies. Participants are not expected to have background in statistical knowledge or empirical skills prior to enrollment. Instructors have been selected in part to demonstrate the development of empirical studies in a wide-range of legal and institutional settings including: antitrust, business law, bankruptcy, class actions, contracts, criminal law and sentencing, federalism, finance, intellectual property, and securities regulation. Class sessions will provide participants opportunities to learn through faculty lectures, drawing upon data and examples for cutting edge empirical legal studies, and participating in experiments. There will be numerous opportunities for participants to discuss their own works-in-progress or project ideas with the instructors.

Click Here to Apply


Eric Helland, Ph.D., Claremont-McKenna College

Jonathan Klick, J.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Law

Bruce Kobayashi, Ph.D., George Mason University School of Law

Joshua Wright, J.D., Ph.D., George Mason University School of Law


The workshop will take place at:
George Mason University School of Law
3301 N. Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201

The Workshop will begin on Monday May 21, at 8:30 a.m. and conclude on Friday May 25, at 12:00 pm. Classes on May 21 – 24 will run from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, and include lectures and applied “hands-on” sessions. On May 25, the participants will have an opportunity to present their own empirical projects or “works in progress” and receive feedback from instructors and other participants.

Topics covered include:

• Research Design
• Finding Data
• Basic Probability Theory
• Descriptive Statistics
• Formulating Testable Hypotheses
• Specification
• Statistical Inference
• Cross-Sectional Regression
• Time Series Regression
• Panel Data Techniques
• Sensitivity Analysis
• Experimental Methods

Click here to see the draft agenda.


Click Here to Apply

Tuition for the Workshop on Empirical Methods is $1000 (with a discounted rate of $850 if received by April 1, 2012) for the first professor from a law school and $600 for additional registrants from the same school.


I am very pleased to pass along this information about the 15th Annual Symposium on Antitrust Law on January 26th, 2012 sponsored by the George Mason Law Review, GMU Law & Economics Center, and Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.


The George Mason Law Review, in partnership with the George Mason University Law & Economics Center and sponsor Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, is pleased to present its 15th Annual Symposium on Antitrust Law on January 26, 2012. The symposium, entitled “Antitrust in High-Tech Industries,” will be held in the Founders Hall Auditorium at George Mason University School of Law, located at 3301 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia.

The program will focus on the proper role of antitrust in high technology industries, including the extent to which current competition policy is adequate to address dynamic competition concerns that are prevalent in rapidly evolving sectors.  Specifically, panels will explore the application of antitrust laws to social media, mergers, online search, and online advertising.

The Keynote Address will be delivered by William Kovacic, former Chairman of the US Federal Trade Commission.

Please join us on January 26, 2012! To register, click here.

For a detailed description of the Symposium Panels, click here.

General Admission: $150.00
Government/Academic: $50.00
Student: $50.00

Note: 5.5 CLE credit hours from the Virginia Bar Association are available for program attendees.

For more information, contact Katie Brown at or call (703) 375-9529.

15th Annual Symposium Brochure

Speakers and Agenda:

8:00 – 8:30am            Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 8:35am             Welcome and Introduction

8:35 – 10:00am          Panel 1: Perspectives on High-Tech Antitrust

Howard Shelanski, Georgetown University Law Center

Herbert Hovenkamp, University of Iowa College of Law

George L. Priest, Yale Law School

Keith Hylton, Boston University School of Law

10:15 – 11:45pm        Panel 2: Social Media

Catherine E. Tucker, MIT Sloan School of Management

Spencer W. Waller, Loyola University, Chicago School of Law

Frank Pasquale, Seton Hall Law School

11:45 – 1:45pm          Luncheon and Keynote Address

William E. Kovacic, The George Washington University Law School

1:45 – 3:15pm             Panel 3: Mergers

Luke M. Froeb, Vanderbilt University

Thomas W. Hazlett, George Mason University School of Law

Jonathan B. Baker, American University Washington College of Law

3:30 – 4:45pm           Panel 4: Search and Online Advertising

William C. MacLeod, Kelly Drye & Warren LLP

Joshua D. Wright, George Mason University School of Law

Daniel Crane, University of Michigan Law School

Scott A. Sher, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

4:45 – 5:00pm           Closing Remarks

5:00 – 6:00pm           Refreshments/ Reception

George Mason University School of Law
Founders Hall Auditorium
3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201

For directions, click here.

A very interesting group of essays on the future of law and economics by ten University of Chicago professors.  It is especially interesting in light of the attempt to revitalize law and economics in Chicago.  The essays exhibit a great diversity in views of what lies in store for the future of law and economics — a topic I’ve written about frequently at TOTM (and along with Henry Manne available here on SSRN).  Its an interesting discussion.  Here’s my quick, rough and ready guide to the 10 essays — which comes with a recommendation to check them all out in their entirety of course — followed by a few comments and reactions at the end of this  post.

  • Douglas Baird: Law and economics will return to its Chicago-born empirical roots, though the return is complicated by the reduced cost of empirical tools and access to data which give rise to the possibility of an “empirical bubble” (as Larry Ribstein has described it) and a tendency to settle into reliance upon those tools as a substitute for finding new and interesting questions to answer.
  • Omri Ben-Sharar: The view that law and economics will follow “technical” trend in economics is wrong.  One need not worry about law and economics losing its “retail value” — a concern I’ve raised on the blog a number of times — Omri argues, because law and economics has “maintained a stronghold on American legal academia for over 30 years by being relevant, accessible, and relentless in luring new audiences.”  I’m a bit confused by this essay; Ben-Shahar argues that the view that the trend towards the technical trend in economics and law and economics scholarship is no concern, but cites considerable evidence that the trend is real and be explained by the reduction in the return from traditional L&E scholarship.  However, Ben-Sharar is optimistic that higher return opportunities present themselves in exporting law and economic analysis across international boundaries and into new subject matter domestically.
  • Anu Bradford: international law and economics analysis, and public choice, have become incredibly complex in the modern world and are a growth area for future scholarship.
  • Eric Posner: This is my favorite of the essays.  Posner contemplates a strong form of the divergence between economists doing law and economics (ELE) and lawyers doing law and economics (LLE); he goes on to discuss an area in which there is indeed a significant gap between economic theorists and law and economics scholars: contracts.  Posner  discusses a variety of reasons for why this specialization is troubling for both fields.
  • Saul Levmore: The current empirical “bubble” will burst and increase the turns to greater theoretical work — primarily using economic insights to explain cases and doctrine (rather than modeling).  Empirical work is less valuable in law than other disciplines, argues Levmore, and while law and economics’ influence will increase in law schools, a question remains as to whether the work will shift away from technical empirics and toward scholarship more “useful” to the practice of law.
  • Anup Malani: Malani’s first line sums his position up nicely: “The future of law and economics is no different than the future of other applied microeconomics fields such as labor, health, and public economics: better identified empirical work with a solid connection to economic theory.”   Its an odd comparison for me; after all, law and economics is quite different in that it is the only of those applied microeconomic fields in which the producers of scholarship are in law schools and not economics departments.  Malani goes on to make some really interesting points about empirical methods in law and economics compared to labor economics and other applied fields, and some suggestions for improving those methods.  But why should law schools have the comparative advantage in this sort of scholarship?
  • Thomas J. Miles: More on the shift from law and economic theory to empirical work in the last decade.  Miles argues, consistent with others, that the returns to empirical work in law and economics (and the reduced cost of producing it) increased as the  theoretical space became saturated.   empirical scholarship in law and economics has surged.  Miles predicts that empirical work is likely “compose a greater share of law and economics scholarship in the future,” and holds out hope that the increase in the supply of JD/PhD’s along with reduced cost of coordinating between JD’s and PhD’s will reduce the trends towards specialization.
  • David A. Weisbach: “We will see more integration with economics departments, more professionalization of the field, better econometric techniques, and expansion into new  areas and new legal problems. But things will pretty much continue as they are.”  Weisbach’s essay complements Miles in that it emphasizes the key of coordinating between disciplines (for Weisbach, perhaps broader than just law and economics) to solve increasingly complex problems.
  • Richard Posner: Posner points to a strong trend towards increased specialization sacrificing the practical application of law and economics scholarship and is skeptical of the notion that the costs of coordination between disciplines has fallen.  “The increased formalization of economics makes it difficult for lawyers who do not have training in economics to collaborate with economists or lawyer-economists. Increasingly, economic analysts of law write for each other, in specialized journals, rather than for the larger profession. Increasingly, indeed, they write  not for economic analysts of law as a whole but for economic analysts of the writer’s subspecialty. The expansion of a field leads to the multiplication of its subspecialties.”    Like Ben-Sharar and Bradford, Posner describes law and economics as a mature discipline whose future lies in exporting its insights across boundaries and to new problems.  Posner largely subscribes to the view that the future of law and economics may continue to lose its “retail” and practical value as it becomes less connected to legal institutions.  He also uses a rather odd and, in my view, misplaced example about macroeconomics and the financial crisis as evidence of the gap between law and economic theory and practice.
  • Gary Becker: Becker continues the theme of arguing that the future lies in coordination between specialist theorists and econometricians,  Becker also argues that a robust area for future law and economics research lies at the “macro” level, i.e. how legal institutions and rules impact economic growth and how macroeconomic developments influence legal institutions.  No doubt these are interesting questions.  But why, again, is there an argument that law schools have a comparative advantage in producing this scholarship rather than remaining the province of economists?  Or teaching law students?

All interesting reads.  There is a good amount of discussion about coordinating theoretical and empirical work, and overcoming the problem of scholarship that is too formal and too technical for “retail application,” which are no doubt a key to ensuring a bright future for law and economic work.  There are some obvious omissions in the discussion.  Judicial education is one obvious role for law and economics scholars in harnessing the insights of economics for practical application in the law.  There is little discussion about the future of law and economics in the classroom, or the relationship between the role of economics in the law school classroom and the challenging facing law and economic scholarship discussed by the authors.

I have recently joined my colleague Bruce Johnsen as a co director of the Robert A. Levy Fellowship in Law and Liberty at GMU Law.  It is a very generous fellowship — a tuition waiver plus a generous stipend —  for economists who have their PhD’s or “ABD” status to come to law school on our dime along with a stipend of up to $27,000 annually.   PhD’s and doctoral candidates in other social science disciplines are also welcome to apply.  Several Levy Fellows have successfully ventured into the legal academic market over the past few years, and we continue to look for economists and economists-in-training with an interest in law and legal institutions.  Levy Fellow alumni include Jonathan Klick, now at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.  More recently, Levy alum Murat Mungan joined the faculty at Florida State as a Visiting Assistant Professor.  Levy Fellow alum Jeremy Kidd is also on the law school market this year.  If the opportunity is of interest — please contact me via email, or check out the details in the advertisement below, as well as the website with further details on the application process.

GMU Law is a great place to do law and economics.  The GMU Law and Economics Center, with a new and ambitious research and policy agenda under Henry Butler, is a wonderful asset for a rising law and economics scholar, and the law and economics faculty here are interested in a wide range of legal topics and play an integral part in the Levy Fellow program.  The program isn’t for everybody.  We’re looking for economists and other social scientists who are interested in understanding legal institutions and plan on entering the academic job market.  Experimental economists interested in the special opportunities available at the Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Center for the Study of Neuroeconomics might also find the program especially attractive.

The full text of the advertisement is below the fold.  Contact me if you have questions about the application process.


School of Law

Robert A. Levy Fellowship

George Mason University School of Law invites applications for the Robert A. Levy Fellowship in Law & Liberty. The Levy Fellowship includes an annual stipend of up to $27,000 per year plus a tuition waiver and is available to PhD or ABD economists who wish to pursue a JD at George Mason.


Applicants will be evaluated for their promise as Law and Economics scholars capable of making a significant contribution to understanding the institutions of a free society. We are pleased in recent years to have placed fellows in highly ranked institutions. Two or more fellowships will be awarded for the 2011/12 academic year. Applicants should arrange to take the LSAT no later than February 2012. George Mason University is an equal opportunity-affirmative action institution.

A special opportunity now exists for those interested in experimental economics. Levy Fellows will have the opportunity to run experiments and collaborate with faculty at the path breaking Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Center for the Study of Neuroeconomics.


Please provide all items requested in standard law school application process, including LSAT/LSDAS, PLUS cover letter with three references, curriculum vitae, graduate transcripts, and a copy of current research.

Letters should be sent to the:


George Mason University School of Law
Office of Admissions
3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201

Or calls made to:

Tel: (703) 993-8010

The co-director of the Levy Fellowship program:

CONTACT: Professor Joshua Wright
Email: jwrightg at gmu dot edu

Thomson-Reuters has listed its “Citation Laureates,” its predictions for particular scholars winning a Nobel prize sometime in the future (not necessarily this year).  Of particular interest to readers of this blog is that George Mason Law Professor Emeritus Gordon Tullock (long mentioned as a favorite of those predicting the Economics prize on this blog) is now included in the list:

* Douglas Diamond at the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, for his analysis of financial intermediation and monitoring.

* Jerry A. Hausman of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Halbert White of University of California San Diego for their contributions to econometrics.

* Anne Krueger of Johns Hopkins University and Gordon Tullock of George Mason University School of Law, Arlington for their description of rent-seeking behavior and its implications.

Unfortunately, Thomson’s prediction rate has not been altogether impressive (see chart); but then again, predicting Nobel prizes isn’t so easy.

Here’s hoping the get this one on the first try.  Gordon is an incredibly well-deserving candidate.

Of course, Thomson-Reuters listed Armen Alchian & Harold Demsetz as Citation Laureates back in 2008 — and they remain my absolute favorites for the prize (along with fellow UCLA economist Benjamin Klein).