Law & Economics

Interdisciplinary Law & Economics Research

Law & Economics, also known as the Economic Analysis of Law, is one of the most rapidly growing fields in legal and economic research. It pervades scientific research, policymaking, and legal and economic counselling worldwide.

Interdisciplinary legal and economic research aims at improving the understanding of the reasons and effects of regulatory intervention, governance choices by private parties and enforcement problems.

The incentive analysis relies on methodological individualism; i.e. it analyses and evaluates the incentives of individuals, and hence furthers the conceptual understanding of the reasons for public or private decision-making.
 It takes an ex ante perspective and thus allows one to ascertain the outcomes of public regulation making or private contracting.

New insights in related research fields, such as psychology, political or sociological sciences, continuously further the development of key assumptions.

The Influence on International Policy Making

Over the last decades, Law & Economics has moved into the centre of interest of international economic organisations. For example, the interdisciplinary legal and economic methodology guides the influential Doing Business Reports by the World Bank. In line with this, the European Commission argued in its initiative on ‘Better Regulation’ that “important new elements are a reinforced economic analysis looking at the effects that proposed legislation may have on competitiveness” (MEMO/05/340, 27.09.2005).

Private Consulting and Contract Drafting

From the continuous exchange with our Associate Members we are aware that international law firms and consulting groups are greatly in need of highly qualified experts familiar with legal tools and, at the same time, with economic techniques. Such skills are extremely important; for instance, in cases before the national competition authorities and the European Commission, before regulatory agencies, or cases involving intellectual property issues, or consulting and drafting in regard to corporate and business law cases.

The Aim and Agenda of the EDLE

The aim of the EDLE programme is to form a new class of outstanding, highly skilled doctoral candidates, able to contribute to the international academic and policy debate as well as to private negotiations or transaction structuring. The programme intends to impart the knowledge and skills required for successful careers in national and international organisations (private and public), consulting groups or, where applicable, to academic careers. Successful EDLE degree holders are expected to extend the frontiers of knowledge in their fields of interest.

The EDLE requires candidates to spend their time in doctoral research attending at least at three different universities (mandatory mobility). It is at the heart of the EDLE agenda to develop the skills for an intercultural exchange of thoughts, to prepare for an international research or work environment and to promote abilities to cope with the challenges of the increasing internationalisation of topics and tasks in academia or professional practice.

In Particular: The Research Topics

The EDLE network counts on a large faculty able to offer supervision on a very large set of topics. Depending on the academic background, the thesis can be more economically or legally oriented. Some theses are rather theoretically focused, others more policy-oriented and some are empirical. Research topics may be proposed by the candidate or by the faculty. For more detailed information on research topics of interest to the Partner Universities can be found here.

Useful Resources


Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

Robert M. Lawless/Jennifer K. Robbennolt/Thomas S. Ulen, Empirical Methods in Law, Wolters Kluwer, 2010.

Robert D. Cooter/Thomas S. Ulen, Law and Economics, Pearson, 2011.


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