About the Summer Institute

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2018 Summer Institute in Law and Economics: Economic Analysis of Public Law

July 9-20, 2018
The University of Chicago
Law School
1111 East 60th Street
Chicago, Illinois, USA

The seventh annual Summer Institute Program is designed for international faculty, with courses to help you integrate law and economics into teaching and research.

Study the Field of Law and Economics at its Birthplace

The University of Chicago is the birthplace of law and economics, and it continues to be the most influential source of scholarship and innovation in the field. At the University of Chicago, Nobel Laureate economists Gary Becker, Ronald Coase, George Stigler, and Milton Friedman worked together with brilliant legal minds like Richard Posner to change the foundation of legal thought in the United States, transforming entire fields of law over the past 50 years.

The Summer Institute in Law and Economics, now in its sixth year, has created a network of well over 300 scholars from around the world who are committed to improving law and policy in their own countries, and who are collaborating to bring economic analysis to the forefront of legal scholarship. The Summer Institute provides legal scholars with the tools and training to bring law and economics into their own classroom and research.

Whether you have already participated in the Summer Institute or are exploring this exciting opportunity for the first time, we invite you to Chicago to learn advanced skills in law and economics.


The program for the 2018 Summer Institute will have four subject units and several special lectures. Each unit will include five two-hour lectures, all in English. Required reading materials in English will be distributed about 30 days in advance of the Summer Institute.

2018 Subject Units

Constitutional Law and Economics — Tom Ginsburg 

Law and economics started in private law, but recently expanded to focus also on public law, inventing novel ways to study and understand constitutional law. This course will introduce the main methods of the field, the predictions derived from economic analysis, and the empirical work that tested them. A primary focus of the course is comparative—using economics and social science to explain variations in constitutional practices around the world.  What are the basic elements of constitutions?  How do these elements differ across time, region, and regime type? What are their economic functions?  What is the process by which states draft and implement constitutions?  And how do constitutional courts interpret constitutional texts?

Economic Analysis of Courts — William Hubbard

For decades, law-and-economics researchers have studied the behavior of judges, lawyers, and litigating parties in court, asking questions such as: To what extent does a judge’s professional or political background affect her decision-making? When will parties to a lawsuit choose to settle their dispute, and when will they litigate through to the end of trial? How much do the judgments of the Supreme Court affect the behavior of lower-court judges? How much does litigation cost? Economic analysis offers keys insights on these questions, and others. This course will survey the fundamental lessons from this inquiry, as well as new directions to which the field is headed.

The Economics of Crime and Public Law Enforcement — Richard McAdams

Gary Becker inaugurated the economic analysis of crime and punishment with a 1968 article on optimal deterrence. Over the decades, Becker’s model has been critiqued and extended. This course will begin with an overview of Gary Becker’s model of law enforcement, and examine some of the cutting edge work that extended and critiqued it. It will look at the optimal design of criminal law as a mechanism for deterrence and incapacitation. The course will analyze prominent criminal law doctrines from an economic perspective, including the punishment of repeat offenders and attempted crimes, the role a mental state (mens rea) in defining crime, criminal law defenses, and particular crimes like blackmail.

Economic Analysis of Public International Law — Adam Chilton

This course will provide an overview of how economic analysis—including formal theory, quantitative analysis, and experimental methods—can be used to study public international law. While traditional scholarship on international law focused on analyzing the requirement written into international law sources, recent interdisciplinary scholarship has focused on answering questions like why countries sign agreements, how those agreements change behavior, and when is international law relevant. We will explore how these insights are currently being used.

Scholars Colloquium

In addition to lectures from University of Chicago faculty, the participants present their own scholarly work to each other and to the UChicago faculty in an academic conference setting. This experience allows the scholars to get valuable feedback and direction on their own work, and to contribute to the other participants’ work.

Cost and Lodging

The fee for the Summer Institute is $4,000, which includes lodging, two meals (breakfast and lunch) per day, all organized social activities, some dinners, and food during class breaks. Participants will be housed in modern University of Chicago student residence halls in Hyde Park, Chicago, conveniently located near the Law School.

A nonrefundable deposit of $500 is required upon acceptance to the Summer Institute.

Many universities reimburse fees for participation and travel to educational events and conferences. Check with your academic department to see if the Summer Institute qualifies.

Travel costs are the responsibility of each participant and the participant’s academic department. The Law School does not reimburse travel or offer travel assistance.

Who Should Apply

The University of Chicago invites legal scholars from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America to apply to the two-week program. Professors, assistant professors, lecturers, and postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to apply. Policymakers and judges, as well as researchers from other disciplines—including economics, finance, and political science—are also encouraged to apply.

Applicants must have sufficient command of the English language to complete the required readings and participate in rigorous classroom discussion. All courses and materials will be offered in English without translation.

Necessary documentation for the visa application process for travel to the United States will be provided upon acceptance to the institute by the Coase-Sandor Institute for Law and Economics.

How to Apply

Applications should be made online at http://www.law.uchicago.edu/lawecon/summerschool/apply.

We ask applicants to provide statements outlining their background in law and economics, current research interest, and reasons for interest in attending the Summer Institute. Applicants must provide a current CV in English detailing educational background, employment history, and a list of publications.

Deadline: **The deadline has been extended.**  Applications must be submitted online by March 12, 2018.

If you have questions, please contact Curtrice Scott, director of the Coase-Sandor Institute for Law and Economics, at curtrice@uchicago.edu.