The European Association of Law and Economics (EALE) is the oldest scientific association in the field of economic analysis of law. It was established at the University of Lund (Sweden) in 1984 upon the initiative of the late Professor Göran Skogh (1943-2014). The EALE has strengthened the ties between the Law and Economics researchers in Europe by creating a forum for scientific discussions and promoting the diffusion of Law and Economics in academia and political circles. Göran Skogh organized the EALE’s founding conference in Lund on 19-21 March 1984; he was elected the first president of the EALE and remained in this capacity from 1984 until 1987. The EALE honoured Göran in 2009 with the Association’s life-time achievement award. In addition, the creation of the Göran Skogh Award in 2012 is a recurring token of appreciation for Göran’s belief in researchers’ creative abilities, no matter whether they are Nobel Prize winners or promising young students. The Göran Skogh Award is a prize that a jury of Law and Economics scholars attributes every year to the best paper presented by a young scholar at the annual EALE conference. The Award remains a lasting tribute to Göran’s life-long commitment for promoting Law and Economics research in Europe.
In the early years, the EALE was not legally incorporated and operated in a very informal way. The yearly conferences attracted an ever growing number of participants. Many European Law and Economics researchers not only profited from the conferences to discuss their ideas but also became good friends. The success of the European Law and Economics family incentivized Professor George Priest (Yale University) to explore the possibility of establishing an American counterpart. Seven years after the founding conference of EALE, the American Law and Economics Association (ALEA) held its first conference (University of Illinois, May 1991). George Priest became the first President of ALEA. In recent years the number of Law and Economics Associations has been growing constantly. There are now several associations in European countries (Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece) but also outside Europe (Asia, Australia, Canada, Latin America, New Zealand). The EALE was incorporated as an international scientific association under Belgian Law in the early 2000s and now has over 300 members.
Prof. Dr. Roger Van den Bergh
Professor of Law and Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Past President of EALE (1987-2001)