The University of Chicago Law School held its seventh annual Summer Institute in Law and Economics last month, drawing 62 scholars from 20 countries and continuing a tradition that has led to a growing number of conferences and collaborations around the world.
Omri Ben-Shahar [shown at the 2015 Institute], the Leo and Eileen Herzel Professor of Law and Kearney Director of the Coase-Sandor Institute for Law and Economics, launched the Summer Institute in 2012 in an effort to share the Law School’s signature interdisciplinary field with the world. Since then, the Summer Institute has trained nearly 500 top international scholars.
During the intensive two-week program, participants took four mini-classes, heard from distinguished speakers over lunch, and attended a variety of special events.
Tom Ginsburg, the Leo Spitz Professor of International Law, taught a class on Constitutional Law and Economics.
Adam Chilton, Assistant Professor of Law, lectured on the Economic Analysis of International Law.
Participants learned about the Economic Analysis of Courts from William Hubbard, Professor of Law.
Richard McAdams, the Bernard D. Meltzer Professor of Law, taught on the Economics of Crime and Public Law Enforcement.
"It was a wonderful experience for me to learn law and economics in its birthplace,” said Wu Yu [center], an assistant professor at Wuhan University in China. “I met a lot of excellent law professors and economists who gave us some impressive perspective and instructive lectures. I am very sure that the learning in the well-organized Summer Institute will benefit my research in the future."
As part of the Distinguished Guest Lecturer series, participants heard from a variety of experts over lunch, including Ben-Shahar, who spoke about the rise of personalized law.
Other speakers included Martha Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, who gave a talk titled, “The Capabilities Approach: A Fruitful Partnership Between Economics and Philosophy.”
Eric Posner, the Kirkland and Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law, spoke about "Radical Markets," the title of his new book, which examines how a truly free market could reinvigorate democracy.
Steven Levitt, the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, gave a talk titled “Learning from Data.” Participants had opportunities to talk with the speakers after their presentations.
“The intellectual environment at the Summer Institute makes this experience exceptional,” said Vanessa Villanueva Collao, a scholar from Peru [shown talking to Dr. Richard Sandor]. “After classes, we had the opportunity to have lunch with distinguished professors and have long discussions about Law and Economics. I have met scholars and practitioners from all over the world, which enriched my knowledge about the multiple applications of this methodology.”
Some of the participants were invited to present their own scholarly work at a Summer Institute colloquium, where they received feedback from Law School faculty.
“Presenting a paper at the Scholars Colloquium is a thrilling experience,” said Ivo Gico, Jr., a Brazilian law professor and the editor-in-chief of the country’s only law-and-economics law review. “I really enjoyed the excitement of sharing and testing my ideas in front of such a qualified audience. I believe both PhD candidates and seasoned professors benefit equally from the constructive discomfort of honest intellectual engagement.”
Participants also discussed ideas and built relationships in several relaxed settings, such as an outdoor picnic at Promontory Point.
During a reception at the University's Quadrangle Club, the scholars mingled with and heard a talk by Dr. Richard Sandor, the Aaron Director Lecturer in Law and Economics and Chairman and CEO of Environmental Financial Products.
Near the end of the session, they celebrated the experience with a garden party at Ben-Shahar’s home.
"The experience of attending the Summer Course was transformative for my academic development,” said Carina de Castro Quirino, a professor from Brazil. “There were very interesting debates and innovative ideas. The interaction of professors from the University of Chicago Law School and scholars from around the world provided an essential space for … the critical development of law and economics."
Ben-Shahar looks forward to "meeting new participants in 2019, when the Summer Institute will offer a first-rate program on 'The Regulation of Markets, Data, and Technology.'"