Methodical Aspects of the Economic Analysis of Public Law

An interdisciplinary conference in Law and Economics

On 14 and 15 March 2019, funded by Bucerius Law School‘s Interdisciplinary Legal Research Program (ILRP), Prof. Dr. Michael Fehling, LL.M. (Berkeley) and Prof. Dr. Georg von Wangenheim held a conference on the economic analysis of public law at Bucerius Law School.

The conference offered interdisciplinary exchange on methodical aspects of the economic analysis of public law. Legal and economic scholars had the opportunity to debate whether the economic analysis of public law requires a methodical approach different from the traditional law and economics approach which focuses on private law. A variety of legal questions served as starting points to explore whether public interests, such as distributive justice, can adequately be incorporated in an analysis of law based on the methodological assumption of individuals maximizing their utility.

Six panels were held, consisting of a legal and an economic presentation each and covering different aspects of the economic analysis of public law. These aspects included general remarks on the differences between public and private law and its consequences for the economic analysis, the use of econometrics in comparative law, methodological individualism and cost-benefit-analysis in environmental law, incentives as a tool for government with the example of the Energiewende, distributive justice as a criterion for public procurement and market efficiency as a benchmark for the regulation of network industries.

Interdisciplinary discussion on those topics offered a broad range of new insights for both lawyers and economists. The conference thus not only allowed its participants to gain an in-depth understanding of the economic analysis of public law but also raised many new questions which offer a promising basis for fascinating further research and exchange


Prof. Dr. Michael Fehling, LL.M (Berkeley); Bruno Gebhardi