About Law and Political Economy in Europe Project.

Law and Political Economy

Law and Political Economy (LPE) is a movement of scholarship and legal praxis that seeks to show how law contributes to the social, economic, and ecological crises that we face, and how it could become a tool in addressing them. LPE highlights how law is not merely an external regulatory force on otherwise “natural” and “neutral” markets. Rather, it is an intrinsic part of the creation of markets in the first place, as legal rules and legal entitlements determine the allocation of resources within the economy and significantly shape the bargaining and coercive power of different actors. Premised on the notion that law is imbricated within social relations of production, LPE prioritises research on how legal institutions create and cement socioeconomic inequalities and shield economic power from democratic contestation. In other words, an LPE approach to legal research asks about the distributive and power-conferring effects of legal rules in all legal subfields. Contrary to the dominance of neoclassical economics, which portrays the economy through quantitative, mathematical models based on axiomatic notions of what constitutes “value”, LPE seeks to expose the political character of the legal infrastructure that constitutes the economy. While building on earlier critiques of the dominant efficiency-focused economic model and, more broadly, critical legal work on capitalism (e.g., American Legal Realists and Critical Legal Studies), LPE is a research praxis that seeks to use critique as the basis for conceptualising new ways of organising the economy.

Building on the successful experience of the U.S. LPE Project, Law and Political Economy in Europe emerges as a response to the intellectual urgency of conceptualising how legal structures can be re-imagined to address socio-economic inequalities and achieve economic, ecological and social change. We aspire to challenge the dominant academic discourse on how the nature of the economy and its operations are understood, illuminate the interconnections between different areas of law and outcomes in the economy, society, and the environment, and democratise the debate about the nature of the economy and its relationship to law. The Law and Political project that we are seeking to develop in Europe will bring together academics and civil society participants to create a community that is actively involved in legal mobilisation and harnesses the potential of law for social transformation. The legal construction of the economy encapsulates an ever-present political possibility for institutional rearrangements, which stands in opposition to ‘there is no alternative’ discourses.

Our core areas of focus are the energy transition, housing, the food system, monetary governance, and monopoly.

We are grateful to Partners for a New Economy for supporting the Law and Political Economy in Europe project. We also thank the Erasmus Initiative ‘Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity’ and the Erasmus School of Law Sector Plan ‘Public and Private Interests: A New Balance’ for their support of the 2023 Summer Academy in Rotterdam.

Principal Investigators:

(University of Glasgow)

Anna Chadwick

Anna Chadwick is Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Glasgow, where she researches and teaches in the fields of international economic law, law and development, and human rights law. Anna’s research explores the legal constitution of capitalism, and her current work seeks to understand the role of law in generating possibilities for transformation in the interlinked global food and financial systems.

(Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Ioannis Kampourakis

Ioannis Kampourakis is an Assistant Professor in Law and Markets at Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Ioannis’ research focuses on the field of transnational economic governance, encompassing legal theory, political economy, international economic law, and business and human rights. His current project delves into the law and political economy of the green transition and the legal architecture of green capitalism.

Staff:

Angela Malle – Administrative Support

Jussi Langeveld – Research Assistant