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Spring 2023 Reading Group

Wielding Impact: Economics as Tool for Justice

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam

The study of the law is inextricably linked with the study of what constitutes justice. Yet formalistic legal doctrine may at times obfuscate deeper inquiry into how to better promote justice in our communities, our society, and our world. One chief goal of the new law and political economy (LPE) intellectual movement is to strongly situate themes of justice in how we evaluate and refine our public institutions. An untapped opportunity exists to advance this goal by leveraging the tools of sophisticated quantitative analysis. For example, economic analysis can bolster LPE goals to foster equity; put simply, economics can itself be a powerful tool to promote justice.

This reading group will explore when and how the application of economics within legal, social, and political institutions can foster justice, focusing primarily on three realms which face some of the most pressing social problems: economic justice, the criminal justice system, and climate change. The purpose of this reading group is threefold: (1) to expand our vision of what a “just” society looks like; (2) to introduce varied approaches to advance this vision, in policy and in practice; and (3) to explore how scholarship in general—and economics scholarship in particular—can bolster our collective efforts to realize a more just future.

Note: This reading group will meet on the following dates: 2/1, 2/15, 3/1, 3/22, 4/5, 4/19