Pioneers of Law and Economics — Available Now

Josh Wright —  1 September 2009


Pioneers of Law and Economics, a volume I edited alongside my colleague Lloyd Cohen, is now available at the Elgar Website.   I’m very happy with how the book came out in large part because of the fantastic group of contributors who agreed to take on chapters, including:  Harold Demsetz, Nuno Garoupa and Fernando Gomez-Pomar, Mark Grady, Tom Hazlett, Keith Hylton, Kate Litvak, Andrew Morriss, Sam Peltzman, John Pfaff, Larry Ribstein, Stephen Stigler, Robert Tollison, Tom Ulen, Susan Woodward, and Josh Wright.

Here’s a description of the book:

The law and economics movement came of age in the second half of the 20th century and had a profound effect on both the scholarship and practice of law. The specially commissioned essays in this book honor the pioneering contributions of those who created the foundation of the modern law and economics enterprise.

The editors of the volume embrace a view of the field that is inclusive not only of a broad range of issues, but also of economic methods. Celebrated here are the founders of law and economics as well as economic theorists, public choice scholars, lawyers and judges who applied economic insights to the law and legal institutions. They include: Ronald Coase, Aaron Director, George Stigler, Armen Alchian, Harold Demsetz, Benjamin Klein, James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, Henry Manne, Richard Posner, Gary Becker, William Landes, Richard Epstein, Guido Calabresi, Frank Easterbrook, Daniel Fischel, Steven Shavell and A. Mitchell Polinsky. Contributors to the volume include other pioneers, former students and clerks, colleagues, and influential scholars in the field.

Scholars and students working in the tradition of law and economics, as well as those in the fields of economics, law and public policy will find the book an essential reference for this important area of scholarship.

I will also admit that the proud UCLA Bruin in me is also very excited that the Pioneers volume includes as subjects my picks for the Nobel Prize — Alchian, Demsetz and Klein — as well as Mark Grady, Tom Hazlett, Susan Woodward and myself.

The volume includes almost entirely new material (with the exceptions of the Peltzman and Stigler essays on Aaron Director — which we thought were not likely to be outdone) by high level law and economics scholars with close intellectual familiarity with their subject matter covering  some very familiar and other less familiar characters in the law and economics movement.

Whether a student or scholar in the field,  I think you will learn something reading this book.