Erich SchanzeWhat is Law and Economics Today?

Erich Schanze, What is Law and Economics Today? A European View, in: Nobel (Hrsg.), New Frontiers of Law and Economics, First International Scientific Conference on Law and Economics at the University of St. Gallen, Zürich 2006, S. 89 ff.


This contribution of Erich Schanze is part of the publication “New Frontiers of Law and Economics” as part of the First International Conference on Law and Economics, which was held at the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) on the 27th and 28th of October, 2005 for the inauguration of the first Master course in Law and Economics (Master of Arts HSG in Law and Economics, MLE Program) at this university. The conference focused on the Law and Economics scientific movement, its current research topics and the ensuing practical impact in the field. Also of significance, the new MLE Program was both presented and discussed by the conference participants.


The text at hand emerged from a speech held at a conference in St. Gallen in October 2005 which dealt with different aspects of Law and Economics. Prof. Dr. Erich Schanze gives a short survey from a European point of view which responds to Richard Posner`s American view.

Prof. Schanze`s intention is to show that law and economics can be best understood as a Janus-head: it looks at both disciplines, and makes an impact on both. There is law and economics in economics, and there is law and economics in law.

Carrying this further, Prof. Schanze refers to the influence of Law and Economics in schools. The emphasis is on a discussion of the necessity of cooperation and communication. This leads to a better understanding of economics itself. Prof. Schanze points out that the advantage of Law and Economics is that people with different views of the world and a different scientific language and methodology can communicate with each other. By comparing the educational systems in European countries with the US, Prof. Schanze responds to the differences between common and civil Law and the “top down” and “bottom up” reception. Another aspect is the influence of literature, which plays a large role in the qualification and the current work of academic economists.

Summing up, Prof. Schanze sees Law and Economics as a tool that helps to tackle socio-economic problems. In his view, Law and Economics has also achieved an extremely important global progress in the area of structuring complex business transactions.


You can find a scan (PDF) of the original text here: Schanze Erich – What ist Law and Economics Today