What is Law and Economics

In a nutshell, Law and Economics is much more than the mere connection of Law and of Economics. The interactions of these two disciplines can be described from various perspectives.

The study programs for the Bachelor and of Master of Arts in Law and Economics integrate the fields of Law and of Economics in a combination study, which connects legal education with economics elements and also provides training for students that wish to take the Swiss Bar Exam and to become Swiss attorneys at law.

From a practical perspective, there are challenges that require a close link between legal and economic solutions, both in the private and in the public sectors. Lawyers should be able to establish the relevant connections of legal practice from a microeconomic as well as macroeconomic perspective with the help of economic methodology. Moreover, lawyers should be able to deal with the issues that arise at the intersection of legal and economic facts. In order to do this, they must have a basic knowledge of economics. The integration of legal and economic expertise is necessary in many areas. Examples are the corporate and commercial legal contexts, tax law, competition law or white-collar crimes. Furthermore, the integration of economic and legal expertise is important for questions concerning financial market regulation, as well as accounting as a specific form of capital market regulation and accounting policies to achieve corporate strategy objectives. Economic aspects also strongly influence the areas of litigation and arbitration, especially in the field of torts.

Parallel to these practical implications, Law and Economics is mainly an academic discipline, particularly equipped with a long tradition in the United States, which became well known in German-speaking countries originally under the term “Economic Analysis of Law”. The aim of Law and Economics is to gain insight into the economic impact of tested legal standards. It is thus possible to make predictions about the consequences of legislative revisions or about the benefits and effectiveness as well as cost-effectiveness of laws and other regulations. Economic models function as instruments for such normative analyses. Hence, the Law and Economics perspective is of utmost significance for legislation and self-regulation, where markets and companies form the two main pillars of this approach.