Law and New Institutional Economics for Law Professors

Cite this Article
Joshua D. Wright, Law and New Institutional Economics for Law Professors, Truth on the Market (February 22, 2009),

Victor Fleischer and Phil Weiser are putting on a Law and New Institutional Economics workshop for law professors in June.  The conference announcement is here. I believe Thom attended last year’s installment, and I will be on the program this year. Here are more details:

New Institutional Economics (NIE) is an interdisciplinary methodology that draws on economics, law, organization theory, political science, history, and sociology. It focuses on the study of political, legal, and social institutions and how those institutions shape the behavior of organizations, firms, or individuals. These institutions establish the “rules of the game” – the set of formal and informal laws, rules, and norms of social behavior that shape economic development and growth, innovation, social organizations, and political stability. NIE’s most often-cited proponents are Ronald Coase, Oliver Williamson, and Douglass North.

Workshop topics. The workshop is primarily intended for law professors, and it will include scholarly presentations both by workshop faculty and by several workshop participants. The primary focus is on (1) research that helps us understand the effects of laws and legal institutions on economic development, innovation, and social and political institutions, and (2) legal scholarship that draws on analysis of institutional context and institutional design (rather than, say, legal doctrinal analysis, or economic or social theory standing alone). Substantive legal areas may range widely, but may include such topics as business law and capital markets, trade and antitrust regulation, intellectual property, telecommunications, higher education policy, the legal profession, and tax policy.

Last summer, the University of Colorado Law School hosted a one-day workshop designed to introduce legal scholars from around the country to the basic foundations of New Institutional Economics. This year, we hope to build on last year’s program by revisiting some of the key ideas and enjoying the opportunity to hear from some leading scholars who study institutions.  In addition, this year’s program will include several presentations of recent scholarship and works-in-progress from conference participants, with our expert “workshop faculty” serving as discussants. If you are interested in presenting recently published work or a work-in-progress, please notify Victor Fleischer at

The workshop will be held at the University of Colorado Law School, in Boulder. We will provide meals, but participants will be expected to cover their own transportation and lodging expenses. The workshop will begin at 9:00 am on Thursday, June 4, 2009, and will conclude after lunch on Friday, June 5, 2009.