Economics Law

What Are Legal Economics?

Law and economics, or “economic analysis of the law,” is the application of economic principles to analyze the effects of various laws on the individual and society at large. In other words, economic concepts (like scarcity of resources, supply, demand, market efficiency, and bargaining power) are used to explain the purpose and effects of various laws, to assess which legal rules are economically efficient, and to predict which legal concepts will be effective and which will not.

As early as the 18th century, Adam Smith (writer of “Wealth of Nations” and famous for coining the phrase “life, liberty, and property”) discussed the economic effects of mercantile laws. Many other political philosophers also saw an interplay between economics and law and wrote about it at great length, including the father of communism, Karl Marx. However, the idea of applying economic concepts directly to the analysis of laws in a non-market manner is a fairly new concept. Economic analysis of law is usually divided into positive and normative. Positive analysis of law uses economic analysis to predict the effects of various legal rules, often explaining the development of laws in terms of their economic efficiency. Normative law, on the other hand, goes further and actually makes policy recommendations based on the projected economic consequences of different legal approaches.

In the United States, the economic analysis of law has been had significant influence on policy makers and the legal system. Many well known judicial opinions have utilized various forms of economic analysis to express the basis for a decision. Some have criticized this approach, however, due to the fact that it may overlook the needs of the minority or individual, such as in questions of equal protection and human rights.

A number of interesting new forms of economic legal analysis are evolving everyday. For more information on economics and law, please refer to the resources below. Should you require the assistance of competent legal counsel in your area, visit our Law Firms page.


Economics Law - US

  • Bureau of Economic Analysis

    The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) promotes a better understanding of the U.S. economy by providing the most timely, relevant, and accurate economic accounts data in an objective and cost-effective manner.

  • Economic Development Administration

    The Economic Development Administration (EDA) was established under the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. § 3121), as amended, to generate jobs, help retain existing jobs, and stimulate industrial and commercial growth in economically distressed areas of the United States. EDA assistance is available to rural and urban areas of the Nation experiencing high unemployment, low income, or other severe economic distress.

  • Economic Research Service - US Department of Agriculture

    The Economic Research Service is a primary source of economic information and research in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With over 350 employees, ERS conducts a research program to inform public and private decisionmaking on economic and policy issues involving food, farming, natural resources, and rural development.

  • Economics - Definition

    Economics aims to explain how economies work and how economic agents interact. Economic analysis is applied throughout society, in business, finance and government, but also in crime, education, the family, health, law, politics, religion, social institutions, war, and science. The expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism.

  • Financial Stability

    Today, our nation faces a severe financial crisis. It is a crisis of confidence, of capital, of credit and of consumer and business demand. Rather than providing the credit that allows new ideas to flourish into new jobs, or families to afford homes and autos, we have seen banks and other sources of credit freeze up – contributing to and potentially accelerating what already threatens to be a serious recession. Our Financial Stability Plan will help ensure that businesses with good ideas have the credit to grow and expand, and working families can get the affordable loans they need to meet their economic needs and power an economic recovery.

  • National Bureau of Economic Research

    Founded in 1920, the National Bureau of Economic Research is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community.

  • US Department of Commerce

    The U.S. Department of Commerce has a broad mandate to advance economic growth and jobs and opportunities for the American people. It has cross cutting responsibilities in the areas of trade, technology, entrepreneurship, economic development, environmental stewardship and statistical research and analysis. The products and services the department provides touch the lives of Americans and American companies in many ways, including weather forecasts, the decennial census, and patent and trademark protection for inventors and businesses.

  • US Economic Stimulus Plan - Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

    President Barack Obama took office in January 2009 facing the biggest global economic crisis since the Second World War. Obama and U.S. congressional leaders, mainly from the Democratic Party, crafted an economic stimulus package to confront the crisis.

  • US Economy at a Glance

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) produces Economy at a Glance pages at the national, regional, state, and metropolitan area levels. The data displayed in these pages are assembled from different surveys and programs conducted by BLS. The Economy at a Glance pages are refreshed with current data every time any of the source programs releases new statistics. This typically occurs 7-9 times per month.

Economics Law - International

  • Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

    The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) was established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN's five regional commissions. ECA's mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development.

  • European Commission - Economic and Financial Affairs

    The Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) reports to the Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Joaquín Almunia. It strives to improve the economic wellbeing of the citizens of the European Union, by developing and promoting policies that lead to sustainable economic growth, a high level of employment, stable public finances and financial stability.

  • UK Economy at a Glance

    his information sheet summarises key aspects of the UK economy. The factors covered are: * Overview of the UK economy * Economic growth * Exchange rates * Interest rates * Inflation * Foreign direct investment * Trade * Taxation * Major UK-owned companies * Labour environment.

  • UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)

    ESCWA provides a framework for the formulation and harmonization of sectoral policies for member countries, a platform for congress and coordination, a home for expertise and knowledge, and an information observatory. ESCWA activities are coordinated with the divisions and main offices of the Headquarters of the United Nations, specialized agencies, and international and regional organizations, including the League of Arab States, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

  • United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

    The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is the regional development arm of the United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region. With a membership of 62 Governments, 58 of which are in the region, and a geographical scope that stretches from Turkey in the west to the Pacific island nation of Kiribati in the east, and from the Russian Federation in the north to New Zealand in the south, ESCAP is the most comprehensive of the United Nations five regional commissions. It is also the largest United Nations body serving the Asia-Pacific region with over 600 staff.

  • United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

    The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) major aim is to promote pan-European economic integration. To do so, UNECE brings together 56 countries located in the European Union, non-EU Western and Eastern Europe, South-East Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and North America. All these countries dialogue and cooperate under the aegis of the UNECE on economic and sectoral issues.

Organizations Related to Economics Law

  • American Law and Economics Association

    The American Law and Economics Association is dedicated to the advancement of economic understanding of law and related areas of public policy and regulation. Founded in 1991, the membership includes academic and practicing lawyers and economists. The Association holds an annual two-day meeting in May at which members present papers dealing with a wide variety of topics concerning the interrelation of law and economics. Since 1999, the Association has published the American Law and Economics Review, a refereed journal.

  • Canadian Economics Association (CEA)

    The Association has for its object the advancement of economic knowledge through the encouragement of study and research, the issuing of publications, and the furtherance of free and informed discussion of economic questions. The Association as such will not assume a partisan position upon any question of practical politics nor commit its members to any position thereupon.

  • Economic Policy Institute (EPI)

    The Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit Washington D.C. think tank, was created in 1986 to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. Today, with global competition expanding, wage inequality rising, and the methods and nature of work changing in fundamental ways, it is as crucial as ever that people who work for a living have a voice in the economic discourse.

  • European Association of Law and Economics (EALE)

    The European Association of Law and Economics (EALE) is the institutional response to the increasing importance of the economic analysis of law in Europe EALE was founded in 1984 with the purpose of providing assistance to law and economics scholars and bringing their scholarship to a wider audience, including policy makers, legislators and judges. The annual conference of EALE has become an important forum for the exchange of research findings and ideas. EALE also arranges seminars jointly with other international organizations, as well as local activities in different countries.

  • Moody's Economy

    Moody's, a division of Moody's Analytics, is a leading independent provider of economic, financial, country, and industry research designed to meet the diverse planning and information needs of businesses, governments, and professional investors worldwide. Our research has many dimensions: country analysis; financial markets; industrial markets; and regional markets. Moody's information and services are used in a variety of ways, including strategic planning; product and sales forecasting; risk and sensitivity management; and as investment research.

  • United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

    ECOSOC was established under the United Nations Charter as the principal organ to coordinate economic, social, and related work of the 14 UN specialized agencies, functional commissions and five regional commissions. The Council also receives reports from 11 UN funds and programmes. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to Member States and the United Nations system

Publications Related to Economics Law

  • Economic News by CNN Money

    Provides the latest news on Markets, Business, Economy and Personal Finance to name a few.

  • International Economic Law and Policy Blog

    This blog offers commentary on current developments and scholarship in the field of international economic law and policy. It was started in January 2006 by Joel Trachtman and, and is managed by One of our goals with this blog is to stimulate discussion of trade issues, and we welcome comments on the blog posts. However, we will delete comments that are profane, mean spirited, racist, sexist, or otherwise inappropriate.

  • Journal of Law, Economics and Policy

    The Journal of Law, Economics and Policy's mission is to publish and distribute two annual, innovative, thought-provoking journals on law, economics and policy. Each issue will comprise creative, original, ground-breaking articles that appeal to both academia and the practicing legal community.

  • Supreme Court Economic Review

    Supreme Court Economic Review is a faculty-edited, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary series that applies world class economic and legal scholarship to the work of the Supreme Court of the United States. Contributions typically provide an economic analysis of the events that generated the Court's cases, its functioning as an organization, the reasoning the Court employs in reaching its decisions, and the societal impact of these verdicts. Beyond academic analysis, SCER contributors stimulate interest in the economic dimension of the Supreme Court and explore solutions for its manifold and complex problems.

  • The White House Issues - Economy

    President Obama’s central focus is on stimulating economic recovery and helping America emerge a stronger and more prosperous nation. The current economic crisis is the result of many years of irresponsibility, both in government and in the private sector. As we look toward the future, we must confront the many dimensions of this crisis while laying the foundation for a new era of responsibility and transparency.

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    With Hurricane Harvey having ravaged much of the Texas Gulf Coast, having caused tens of billions of dollars in damage and having affected the lives of millions to one degree or another, the question has arisen as to whether the Texas Legislature should be called into a second special session to deal with the aftermath. 
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    A federal court judge has shot down changes to Texas voting laws for the second time. This same judge who first ruled against the law in 2014, found that the changes made earlier in the year are insufficient and carry “chilling” consequences.
  • Why President Eisenhower’s Dire Warning Is Still Relevant
    It’s been well over five decades since the sitting President of the United States issued a grave warning to his fellow Americans as part of his farewell address. Amid the Cold War, the president focused his words on the many threats facing our nation, including the influence of our chief global rival in imposing their ideology and military might.
  • Judges: Appointed v. Elected
    We are taught from a young age that the best form of government is one that we the people elect. Is electing judges the best way?
  • New Credit Card Law Pits Texas against Merchants and Financial Companies
    During the regular session, the Texas Legislature passed a law allowing merchants to ask to see a photo ID when processing a credit card or debit card transaction and to decline the transaction if the customer refuses. The law, which goes into effect January 1, may have placed the state of Texas on a collision course with merchants and financial institutions that issue credit cards, according to the Texas Tribune. The problem is that many financial institutions prohibit merchants from declining a transaction in their contracts. The position of these banks is that their contracts supersede the new law. The state of Texas, even though it does not require merchants to ask for ID, takes the opposite view. The matter may have to be settled through litigation.
  • When Can a Nursing License be Taken Away?
    There are various ways a nursing professional may lose his or her license in the medical world. In order to keep this form occurring, it is best to understand what to avoid and how to retain the ability to practice medicine so that income does not become a problem.
  • Amendments to the Texas Expungement Statute May Help Clients Erase More Mistakes
    Changes to the Texas expungement statute may open opportunity for persons to expunge individual offenses arising from the same arrest event.
  • Pennsylvania's Ruling on the Impairment Evaluation Process for Workers' Compensation Claims
    Last month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state’s current impairment rating process used to gauge injuries for Workers’ Compensation claims is unconstitutional. The ruling came after a worker who suffered a knee injury in 2007 appealed the original evaluation of her claim.
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