Henry G. Manne—Special issue: Foreword
- 74 Downloads
This special issue is dedicated to one of the four scholars who were honoured as the founders of “law and economics” at the first meeting of the American Law and Economics Association in 1991: Henry Manne. The European Journal of Law and Economics tries to be a scholarly companion that offers researchers an important reference to the discipline and its advances. In order to accomplish this twofold role it does not only look for cutting edge contributions providing the last developments of the field, but also it tries to make scholars aware of the path through which we arrived there and who were the men who shed the light in those directions. The purpose, as stated by a well-known English adage, is looking backward for looking forward, because without the proper knowledge on the foundations of the discipline, it is difficult to make meaningful contributions. Therefore, after Ronald Coase (Marciano 2011 and other articles in the same issue) and Richard Posner (see Marciano and Ramello 2017 and other articles in the same issue), before Guido Calabresi (forthcoming), or Cesare Beccaria (forthcoming) and other thinkers, we felt the need to devote some space to Henry Manne.
Certainly the less known among the founding fathers—two federal judges and a Nobel Prize laureate in economics—, Manne was nonetheless as pivotal to the discipline as the others. He played a crucial role in the emergence and establishment of this field of research in many domains, starting from corporate law and economics. His scientific work was always characterised by high quality and originality as evidenced by the articles published in this special issue. Besides his scholarly qualities, he has been fundamental to the discipline for his almost unique ability as an “intellectual entrepreneur” (Ribstein 2008) the made him fundamental also for transforming law and economics from an academic curiosity to an operational tool. In the early 1970s, Manne organized summer training in economics for law professors, legal scholars, judges and lawyers first at the University of Rochester and then at the University of Miami (see Manne 2005). During 2 weeks, these non-economists followed intensive courses in economics during which they were taught basic economic principles. These seminars, respectively nicknamed “Pareto in the Pines” and then “Pareto in the Palms”, attracted a lot of judges—as Jane Mayer noted, “[w]ithin a few years, 660 judges had gone on these junkets … By one count, 40 per cent of the federal judiciary participated, including the future Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas” (2016, 110).1 They clearly contributed to make law and economics visible outside of economics and to convince law professors, judges and legal scholars that economics could be useful for them. And that was a very important, indeed central, objective of law and economics to Manne. As he noted more recently, to teach legal scholars economics is necessary because it would help to “improv[e] the law” (Manne and Wright 2008, 22).
To provide a concise while representative picture of the intellectual sphere of an individual, is challenging. We are very grateful to Ron Cass and Enrico Colombatto, two leading scholars of law and economics from the new and the old continent, for having taken the burden of doing it. They have gathered together a handful of colleagues, scholars or admirers of Manne who give an interesting, rich and useful overview on his contribution to law and economics.
Thomas is the second African American and Ginsburg the second woman to serve on the Court. The former was nominated by George Bush while Ginsburg was nominated by Bill Clinton and is reputed for being a liberal.
- Manne, H. G. (2005). How law and economics was marketed in a hostile world: A very personal history. In F. Parisi & C. K. Rowley (Eds.), The origins of law and economics: Essays by the founding fathers (pp. 309–327). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
- Manne, H. G., & Wright, J. D. (2008). The future of law and economics: a discussion. George Mason University School of Law, George Mason University Law and Economics Research Paper Series, 08-35, http://ssrn.com/abstract_id=1145421.
- Mayer, J. (2016). Dark money: The hidden history of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
- Ribstein, L. (2008). Henry Manne: Intellectual entrepreneur. In L. R. Cohen & J. D. Wright (Eds.), Pioneers of law and economics (pp. 125–144). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar