Law & Economics Initiative

  • About us
  • Our Research
  • Education & Training
  • External Engagement
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The Law & Economics Initiative is a collaboration between CAER, UNSW Business School, UNSW Law and the Herbert Smith Freehills law firm (Sydney). Its main goals are to help establish law and economics in the Australian academia, begin a dialogue with practitioners about developments in the field and developments in practice, and to establish UNSW as a key leader in the field. The research of the initiative aims to analyse and understand law and legal institutions from economic perspectives rather than the legal realistic tradition. This is achieved by applying the latest developments in the field of economics, including the incorporation of tools from labour economics and the insights of information and behavioural economics on the limits of neo-classical economic models.

Our vision

Law and economics has been a major field in US academia since pioneering contributions by Ronald Coase, Guido Calabresi and Richard Posner in the 1960s and '70s. It is almost unthinkable for a major US law school not to offer multiple courses on law and economics, and increasingly this is also the case in top economics departments. Moreover, the analytic methods—formal models and careful empirical work—are widespread in essentially all areas of legal scholarship. The HSF initiative on Law & Economics aims to foster this approach in Australia.

Objectives of the initiative

The initiative brings distinguished international scholars in law & economics to UNSW to present frontier research in the field and discuss practical legal issues with practitioners. A course on "Economic Analysis of the Law" has been established at UNSW Law School to provide students with exposure to this approach to legal analysis.

Research Team

Contact us

Professor Richard Holden
Phone: +61 2 9385 4700
Email: richard.holden@unsw.edu.au

Areas of research

  • Contract law and theory.
  • Empirical legal methods.
  • Constitutional design.

Publications

Books Edited

Professor Rosalind Dixon. Constitutional Dialogue: Democracy, Rights, Institutions(ed. with Gregoire Webber and Geoffrey Sigalet) (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming 2018)

Professor Rosalind Dixon. Comparative Judicial Review (ed. with Erin Delaney) (Edward Elgar, Forthcoming 2018)

Professor Rosalind Dixon. The Invisible Constitution in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming 2017) (with Adrienne Stone)

Professor Rosalind Dixon. Constitutional Triumphs, Constitutional Disappointments: a Critical Assessment of the 1996 South African Constitution’s Influence(ed. with Theunis Roux) (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Professor Rosalind Dixon. Australian Constitutional Values (Hart Publishing, 2018)

Professor Rosalind Dixon. Comparative Constitutional Law in Latin America (ed. with Tom Ginsburg) (Edward Elgar, 2017)

Professor Rosalind Dixon. The Critical Judgments Project: Re-Reading Monis v the Queen (Federation Press, 2017) (with Gabrielle Appleby)
Dixon, R. and G. Williams, 2015, The High Court, the Constitution & Australian Politics, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, Australia.

Dixon, R. and T. Ginsburg, 2014, Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham UK and Massachusetts USA.

Book Chapters

Dixon, Rosalind. “Constitutional Non-Transformation? Socioeconomic Rights and the Middle Class” in The Future of Social and Economic Rights (Katharine G. Young, ed., forthcoming 2017) (with David Landau)

Dixon, Rosalind. “Comparative Constitutional Law in Latin America: An Introduction” in Comparative Constitutional Law in Latin America (ed. with Tom Ginsburg) (Edward Elgar, 2017) (with Tom Ginsburg)

Dixon, Rosalind. “Critical Thinking in Constitutional Law and Monis v the Queen” in The Critical Judgments Project: Re-Reading Monis v the Queen (Federation Press, 2017) (ed. with Gabrielle Appleby) (with Gabrielle Appleby)

Holden, Richard. “Law and Economics” in The Critical Judgments Project: Re-Reading Monis v the Queen (Federation Press, 2017) (ed. with Gabrielle Appleby) (with Gabrielle Appleby)

Dixon, Rosalind. “Comparative Reproductive Rights: Constitutional convergence and non-convergence” in Constitutions and Gender (Helen Irving ed., Elgar, 2017) (with Jade Bond)

Dixon, Rosalind. “Treaty Implementation in Canada- A Comparative Perspective on the Tasmanian Dam Case” in The Tasmanian Dam Case 30 Years On (Michael Coper et al eds, Federation Press 2017)

Dixon, R. and A. Stone, 2016, “Constitutional Amendment and Political Constitutionalism: A Philosophical and Comparative Reflection”, in Philosophical Foundations of Constitutional Law, D. Dyzenhaus and M. Thorburn (eds.), Oxford University Press.

Holden, R.T., 2016, “Subgame Perfect Implementation and Foundations of Incomplete Contracts”, in Essays in Honor of Oliver Hart, P. Aghion, M. Dewatripont, P. Legros and L. Zingales (eds.), Oxford University Press.

Holden, R.T., 2016, “Law and Economics”, in The Critical Judgments Project, G. Appleby and R. Dixon (eds.), Federation Press, Annandale.

Holden, R.T., 2016, “A Process for Non-Partisan Redistricting”, in An Illinois Constitution for the 21st Century, J. Schwab (ed.), forthcoming.

Holden, R.T., 2015, “Incomplete Contracts and Mechanism Design”, in The Impact of Incomplete Contracts in Economics, P. Aghion, M. Dewatripont, P. Legros and L. Zingales (eds.), Oxford University Press, New York, forthcoming.

Dixon, R. and M. Tushnet, 2014, “Weak-Form Review and its Constitutional Relatives: an Asian Perspective”, in Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia, R. Dixon and T. Ginsburg (eds.), Edward Elgar, Cheltenham UK and Massachusetts USA, pp. 102-122.

Dixon, R. and T. Ginsburg, 2014, “Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia: An Introduction”, in Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia, R. Dixon and T. Ginsburg (eds.), Edward Elgar, Cheltenham UK and Massachusetts USA, pp. 1-20.

Dixon, R. and R. Holden, 2012, “Constitutional Amendment Rules: The Denominator Problem”, in Comparative Constitutional Design, T. Ginsburg (ed.), New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 195-218.

Dixon, R., and M. Nussbaum, 2012, “Abortion, Dignity and a Capabilities Approach”, in Feminist Constitutionalism, D. Barak-Erez, T. Kahana and B. Baines (eds.), Cambridge University Press, pp. 64-85.
Refereed Journal Articles

Holden, R.T., P. Aghion, E. Fehr and T. Wilkening, “The Role of Bounded Rationality and Imperfect Information in Subgame Perfect Implementation - An Empirical Investigation”, Journal of the European Economic Association 16(1), 2018, 232-274.

Holden, R.T., "A Process for Non-Partisan Redistricting" in Joseph E. Tabor (ed.) An Illinois Constitution for the 21st Century. Illinois Policy Institute. Chicago, IL. 2017.

Holden, R.T., "A Nobel Prize for Property-Rights Theory," Games, 8(4), 2017.

Holden, R.T., "Competitive Neutrality in Industry Equilibrium", Australian Journal of Competition and Consumer Law, forthcoming.

Holden, R.T., "When to Drop a Bombshell" (with Gabriele Gratton and Anton Kolotilin). Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming. [Online Appendix A], [Online Appendix B]

Holden, R.T., "Gaming and Strategic Opacity in Incentive Provision" (with Florian Ederer and Margaret Meyer), RAND Journal of Economics, conditionally accepted.

Dixon, Rosalind. “Proportionality & Comparative Constitutional Practice”, Law & Ethics of Human Rights (Forthcoming, 2018)

Dixon, Rosalind. “Globalizing Constitutional Moments? A Reflection on the Japanese Art 9 Debate”, American Journal of Comparative Law (Forthcoming 2018) (with Guy Baldwin)

Dixon, Rosalind. “The Forms and Limits of Constitutions as Political Insurance”, 1`5(4) International Journal of Constitutional Law (2018) (with Tom Ginsburg)

Dixon, Rosalind. “Tiered Constitutional Design”, GW Law Review (Forthcoming, 2018) (with David Landau)

Dixon, Rosalind. “Detaining Non-Citizens: Political Competition & Weak v Strong Judicial Review”, Virginia Journal of International Law (Forthcoming, 2018) (symposium on the ‘External Dimensions to Constitutions) (with Brigid McManus)

Dixon, Rosalind. “Constitutional Design Two-Ways: Constitutional Drafters as Judges”, 57 Virginia Journal of International Law 1 (2017)

Dixon, Rosalind. “The Core Case for Weak Judicial Review”, 38 Cardozo Law Review 2193 (2017)

Dixon, R., S. Butt and M. Crouch, 2016, “The First Decade of Indonesia’s Constitutional Court”, Australian Journal of Asian Law, Vol. 16(2), pp. 1-7.

Dixon, R., 2016, “An Australian (Partial) Bill of Rights”, International Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 14(1), pp. 80-98.

Holden, R.T. and R. Akerlof, 2016, “Movers and Shakers”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 131(4), pp. 1849-1874.

Holden, R.T., 2016, “Voting and Elections: New Social Science Perspectives”, Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 12, pp. 255-272.

Dixon, R., 2015, “Constitutional Drafting & Distrust”, International Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 13, pp. 819-846.

Dixon, R. and D. Landau, 2015, “Transnational Constitutionalism and A Limited Doctrine of Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendment”, International Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 13(3), pp. 606-638.

Dixon, R., 2015, “Partial Bills of Rights”, American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 63(2), pp.403-437. 

Holden, R.T. and P. Hummel, 2014, “Optimal Primaries”, Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 109, pp. 64-75.

Holden, R.T., N. Kartik and O. Tercieux, 2014, “Simple Mechanisms and Preferences for Honesty”, Games and Economic Behavior, Vol. 83, pp. 284-290.

Holden, R.T. and G. Ellison, 2014, “A Theory of Rule Development”, Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Vol. 30(4), pp. 649-682.

Holden, R.T. and A. Malani, 2014, “Renegotiation Design Through Contract”, University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 81(1), pp. 151-178.

Dixon, R., 2013, “The Supreme Court of Canada and Constitutional (Equality) Baselines”, Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Vol. 50(3), pp. 637-668.

Dixon, R. and V. Jackson, 2013, “Constitutions Inside Out:  Outsider Interventions in Domestic Constitutional Contests”, Wake Forest Law Review, Vol. 48(1), pp. 149-209.

Akerlof, R. and R. Holden, 2012, “The Nature of Tournaments”, Economic Theory, Vol. 51(2), pp. 489-313.

Gibbons, R., R. Holden and M. Powell, 2012, “Organization and Information: Firms’ Governance Choices in Rational-Expectations Equilibrium”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 127(4), pp. 1813-1841.

Aghion, P., D. Fudenberg, R.Holden, T. Kunimoto and O. Tercieux, 2012, Subgame Perfect Implementation under Value Perturbations”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 127(4), pp. 1843-1881.

Dixon, R. and T.Ginsburg, 2012, “The South African Constitutional Court & an Insurance-Based Theory of Socio-economic Rights”, Constitutional Court Review (2011) 4, pp. 1-29.

Dixon, R., 2012, “Weak-Form Judicial Review and American Exceptionalism”, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 32(3), pp. 487-506.

Dixon, R. and M. Nussbaum, 2012, “Children’s Rights and a Capabilities Approach: The Question of Special Priority”, Cornell Law Review, Vol. 97(3), pp.549-594.

Dixon, R., 2012, “Amending Constitutional Identity”, Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 33(5), pp. 1847-1858.

Dixon, R., 2012, “A New (Inter)National Human Rights Experiment for Australia”, Public Law Review, Vol. 23, pp. 75
Other research Output

Yi-Chun Chen, Richard Holden, Takashi Kunimoto Yifei Sun and Tom Wilkeningk 2017, “Getting Dynamic Implementation to Work”.

Wouter Dessein and Richard Holden 2017, “Organizations with Power-Hungry Agents”.

Richard Holden, Michael Keane and Matthew Lilley 2017, “Peer Effects on the United States Supreme Court”.

Holden, R.T., 2015, “Gerrymandering”, in Encyclopaedia of Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism, Wiley-Blackwell.

Dixon, R. and G. Williams, 2014, “Drafting a Replacement for the Races Power in the Australian Constitution”, Book Review, Public Law Review, Vol. 25, pp. 83-88. 

Grants

Australian Research Council Future Fellowship Grant, 2013-2017, R. Holden, $910,034. The project aims to further the understanding of non-price institutions such as firms, voting rules, trading mechanisms, bargaining protocols, and publically owned assets. Fifteen percent of this project is devoted to research which is undertaken by the Law and Economics Initiative. Funds of this project are administrated by the School of Economics (UNSW).


Economic Analysis of the Law (Professor Dixon). LAWS3335.

2012

As part of the group's commitment to establish and develop the field of law and economics at UNSW, in 2012 Professor Richard Holden reconstructed and significantly redesigned the undergraduate course "Economics of Corporations" (Economics 3123) to align with the latest developments in the field of law and economics. The course was offered in 2012 and is planned to be offered also in 2013. The delivery of the course was coordinated with the School of Economics and the Business School in accordance with the relevant UNSW policies and procedures.

Visitors hosted

Dr Varun Gauri, Head of Global INsights Initiative, Development Economics, World Bank, Washington DC, visited UNSW in August 2017.

Professor Anup Malani, University of Chicago Law School, visited UNSW in August 2017.

Dr Robert Akerlof, Department of Economics, University of Warwick, visited UNSW from August 2017 to March 2018.

Associate Professor Betsey Stevenson, University of Michigan, visited UNSW in February 2016

Professor Juliano Zaiden Benvindo, University of Brasilia, visited UNSW in August 2016

Sumit Bisarya, Senior Project Manager, Constitution Building - Head of Mission (the Netherlands), International IDEA, visited UNSW in August 2016

Professor Vicki Jackson, Harvard Law School, visited UNSW in August 2016

Purush Purushothaman, Victoria University of Wellington, visited UNSW in August 2016

Professor Ridwanul Hoque, Dhaka University, visited UNSW in August 2016

Dr Robert Akerlof, Department of Economics, University of Warwick, visited UNSW in August 2016

Dr Son Ngoc Bui, Centre for Asian Legal Studies, National University of Singapore, visited UNSW in August 2016

Professor Eric Talley, Columbia Law School, visited UNSW in November 2016

Professor Gillian Lester, Columbia Law School, visited UNSW in November 2016

Associate Professor David Fontana, School of Law, George Washington University, visited UNSW in December 2016

Associate Professor Naomi Schoenbaum, School of Law, George Washington University, visited UNSW in December 2016

Professor David Law, the University of Hong Kong, visited UNSW in December 2016

Professor Scott Baker, School of Law, Washington University in St. Louis - visited UNSW on March 2015

Associate Professor Mila Versteeg, School of Law, University of Virginia - visited UNSW on December 2015

Assistant Professor Robert Akerlof, University of Warwick Economics department – visited UNSW on December 2015

Professor Jacob Gersen, Harvard Law School – visited UNSW on December 2015                               

Professor David Landau, College of Law, Florida State University – visited UNSW on December 2015

Professor Nathaniel Persily, Stanford Law School, visited UNSW in August 2014

A/Prof Ruoying Chen, Peking University Law School, visited UNSW in August 2014

Dr Joel Colon-Rios, Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington, visited UNSW in December 2014

Dr Robert Akerlof, Department of Economics, University of Warwick, visited UNSW in December 2014

Dr Tom Wilkening, Department of Economics, University of Melbourne, visited UNSW in December 2014

Prof. Sujit Choudry, NYU in 2013

Prof. Bradley Condon, University of Victoria in 2013

Prof. Christine Jolls, Yale in 2013

Dr. Nick Stephenopolous, University of Chicago in 2013

Prof. Tonja Jacobi, Northwestern University in 2012

Dr. Anthony Niblett, University of Toronto in 2012

Prof. Anup Malani, University of Chicago in 2012

Prof. Matthew Sagg, Loyola University in 2012

Prof. Eric Talley, University of California, Berkeley in 2012

Latest media articles

Conferences

2017

Herbert Smith Freehills Law and Economics Initiative in conjunction with Australian Law and Economic Association hosted a conference on 6th December 2017. The conference was supported by the Australian Research Council, UNSW Business School and the School of Economics.

Speakers at the conference included, Professor Bert Huang (Columbia Law School), Anup Malani (University of Chicago Law School via skype), Kentara Asai (ANU), Benjamen Gussen (UQ),

Rebecca Mendelsohn (ANU), Robert Akerlof (Warwick) and Rhett Martin (USQ).

lunch talk by Associate Professor Betsey Stevenson of the University of Michigan. Associate Professor Stevenson is one of the world's leading labour economists, having been Chief Economist at the US Department of Labour, and recently serving on the Council of Economic Advisers to the President of the United States. Her talk was on the "Five Challenges the Labour Market Faces and Implications for Economic Growth". February 2017.

2016

In February 2016 the Herbert Smith Freehills Law and Economics Initiative hosted a special lunch talk by Associate Professor Betsey Stevenson of the University of Michigan. Associate Professor Stevenson is one of the world's leading labour economists, having been Chief Economist at the US Department of Labour, and recently serving on the Council of Economic Advisers to the President of the United States. Her talk was on the "Five Challenges the Labour Market Faces and Implications for Economic Growth".

In November 2016 the Herbert Smith Freehills Law and Economics Initiative in conjunction with the Corporate and Commercial Law cluster of UNSW Law hosted a special lunch talk by Professor Eric Talley of Columbia Law School. His talk was on "Short-Termism and Long-Termism".

2015

ASSA-CAER Dinner event in celebration of Professor Holden's Panel B award for Early Career Research, August 2015

In 2015 Professor Richard Holden won for the second time in succession the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) Panel B award for Early Career Research. The Centre for Applied Economic Research (CAER) at UNSW in conjunction with the ASSA celebrated this great achievement on Thursday, 27th of August 2015, at a dinner event. At this gathering of ASSA Fellows, Professor Holden gave a brilliantly clear and concise summary of his work on network capital.

2014

Professor Holden's public lecture on "New Perspectives on the Law and Economics of Elections", August 2014, UNSW main Campus.

In 2014 Professor Richard Holden won the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) Panel B award for Early Career Research. In celebration of this great achievement the Centre for Applied Economic Research (CAER) at UNSW in conjunction with the ASSA organized a public lecture event on August 6th, 2014. At this event Professor Holden brilliantly presented an interesting lecture on "New Perspectives on the Law and Economics of Elections". In the lecture Professor Holden demonstrated how, in recent years, increases in political polarisation and advances in information technology have affected elections through gerrymandering, incumbency protection, and voter mobilisation.