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Center for Law and Economic Studies

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The Center for Law and Economic Studies develops interdisciplinary research and teaching programs to shed new light on the fundamental economic and legal problems of the modern industrial society.

The Center for Law and Economic Studies’ basic mandate is to develop interdisciplinary research and teaching programs in order to shed new light on the “fundamental economic and legal problems of the modern industrial society.”

The center, founded in 1975, now sponsors an extensive program of research, teaching, and public discussion of law and economic issues. It has taken the lead in developing new interdisciplinary courses and seminars at Columbia. The center has supported many major research projects, which have included participants from law, economics, business, and other disciplines. In addition, the center provides regular support for research by Columbia faculty members. The first major project was on industrial concentration; subsequent projects have included corporate takeovers, regulation of electric power, and corporate governance.

Proceedings of many of these conferences have been published either as books or as special issues of law reviews. The center has recently launched a long-term project, “American Industry and the Institutional Investor: The Search for Common Ground,” which explores the role of pension funds and other institutional investors in corporate governance.

The center has a limited amount of fellowship aid available for LL.M. and J.S.D. candidates with a strong interest in interdisciplinary work. To be eligible for assistance, master's degree candidates must plan to take several law courses emphasizing economics and may also wish to enroll in economics courses in the Department of Economics or in the Business School. Eligible J.S.D. candidates must plan to write a dissertation on a topic in law and economics, and they will ordinarily need to spend three or four terms in residence in order to complete the coursework in economics required for effective interdisciplinary research. Students who wish to apply for assistance should notify the center after being notified of acceptance into a program.

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