New institutional economics (NIE) is increasingly influencing scholarship across a variety of disciplines and provides an analytical framework that is uniquely promising for legal scholarship. NIE examines how institutions–formal legal rules and informal social norms–govern the behavior of individuals and firms as well as how organizations use governance rules to operate effectively (or not). Significantly, NIE provides scholars with the necessary tools to examine how institutions and organizations operate in practice, eschewing theory for theory’s sake, and thus has motivated the use of experimental economics to test the impact of different legal rules. To provide a valuable examination of NIE, Silicon Flatirons has assembled a faculty of leading scholars in the field, including Lee Alston, Lynne Keasling, Gary Libecap, Henry Smith, and Tom Ulen.
This one-day seminar will provide legal scholars with an accessible and engaging account of what NIE is about and how it offers an insightful analytical framework. To do so, the seminar will consist of three basic modules–(1) an introduction to NIE and why it matters to legal scholarship, particularly for property and intellectual property law; (2) an introduction to behavioral economics and experimental economics, including a simulation exercise that will demonstrate how experimental economics can be used to examine institutions in practice; and (3) an interactive discussion where all participants examine some case studies to evaluate the payoffs of using NIE and experimental economics to evaluate the merits of different legal regimes.
The seminar will begin at 8:30 a.m. on June 11th at the University of Colorado Law School, in Boulder. The seminar will conclude around 5:15 that afternoon, with lunch and time for breaks to allow informal discussion and socializing as well as a festive dinner that night. All meals will be paid for, but participants are expected to pay for their own transportation and lodging. We will, moreover, have prizes available for those prevailing in the simulation exercise.