Recent Publications in English Language

Prof. Hans-Bernd Schäfer is Affiliate Professor in Law and Economics and Director of the Interdisciplinary Legal Research Program at Bucerius Law School.

Research & Faculty |

My Study of Law and Economics. 

This essay is an autobiographical paper published on invitation of the editors of the Review of Law and Economics. The economic theories, with which I worked at the beginning of my academic career had no relation to legal or social norms. This changed, after I became a professor of economics in the newly established second law department of the University of Hamburg.

It was a model trial of a reformed legal education. My lawyer colleagues propagated a more policy oriented and teleological understanding of the law, legal scholarship, and teaching and demanded the integration of social sciences into the study of the law. I began studying and teaching the classical writings of the American law and economics pioneers and related them to German private law.


  • Hans-Bernd Schäfer (2023) My Study of Law and Economics. An Educational Journey with Knowledgeable Tour Guides, Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter.


Property of the Social Media Data, Chapter 2

The present regulation of internet platforms allows the internet giants to reap monopoly profits, achieve market dominance, divert income streams, and reduce consumer welfare. And it does not sufficiently protect personal data.

The efficient use of raw data cannot be achieved by competition law alone, but rather through a combination of different property rights, an alienable erga omnes right for the subjects of information to protect their privacy, and an open data rule for depersonalized datasets, which would remove the current de facto property of data controllers, which impedes downstream competition.


  • Hans-Bernd Schäfer, Ram Singh (2023) Property of the Social Media Data, Chapter 2, in: Law and Economic Develpment, Behavioral and Moral Foundations of a Changing World, Edited by Kaushik Basu and Ajit Mishra, Springer Natures.


The economic analysis of civil law

This comprehensive textbook provides a thorough guide to the economic analysis of law, with a particular focus on civil law systems. It encapsulates a structured analysis and nuanced evaluation of norms and legal policies, using the tools of economic theory.


  • Hans-Bernd Schäfer, Claus Ott (2022), The economic analysis of civil law, second edition.


Premature repayment of fixed interest mortgage loans without compensation, a case of misguided consumer protection in the EU, European Journal of Law and Economics

Consumer protection shifts risks from consumers to businesses. This raises marginal costs and equilibrium prices. It is justified when markets are not strong enough to allocate contractual risks or accident risks efficiently, especially in cases of severe asymmetric information between suppliers and consumers.

We test these considerations in a theoretical and empirical study on consumers' right to early repayment of mortgage loans without damage compensation to the creditor in the European Union. We show in a formal model and in an empirical study for EU countries that such a right can lead and probably leads to an impairment of consumer welfare, compared with the traditional rule of expectation damages for breach of contract.


  • Hans-Bernd Schäfer, Alexander J Wulf (2022), Premature repayment of fixed interest mortgage loans without compensation, a case of misguided consumer protection in the EU, European Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 53,2, pp.175-208, Springer.


National wealth and private poverty through civil law? 

The central thesis of this book is that private law, in conjunction with its increasingly global outreach, serves the interests of the rich and enables “rule by law” (p. 205) rather than a “rule of the law”. The rules of contract law, corporate law, insolvency law, property law and private international law are of particular importance in this regard. According to the author, these areas of the law shape or “encode” the domination of resources and capital in ways that increase wealth and inequality.

This essay presents a critical perspective. It does not doubt important lines of thought in the book but questions several statements and hypotheses made.


  • Hans-Bernd Schäfer (2022), National wealth and private poverty through civil law? a review of the book “The Code of Capital” by Katharina Pistor, European Journal of Law and Economics, vol. 53, pp. 125–143.


At Brexit crossroads: autonomy and gains from trade as alternatives?

‘Brexit means Brexit. ’Theresa May’s famous political statement has often been cited, but mainly for its ambiguity and vagueness. She was clear only about the intention to end membership in the EU and its organs.

We may assume that the vagueness of Theresa May’s slogan was not unintended and that it served as a disguise (though a semi-transparent one) of the dissenting views in the UK on whether and how the Kingdom should leave the single market–views that ranged from a close economic partnership via a loose free trade zone to no special economic ties at all.


  • Hans-Bernd Schäfer, Jörn Axel Kämmerer (2021), At Brexit crossroads: autonomy and gains from trade as alternatives? Introduction and overview, pp.1-33. in: Jörn Axel Kämmerer and Hans-Bernd Schäfer (editors) Brexit – Legal and Economic Aspects of a Political Divorce, Edward Elgar.