Shavell receives Coase medal from American Law and Economics Association

Steven Shavell and Richard Posner

Judge Richard A. Posner (right) presents the 2014 Ronald H. Coase Medal to Harvard Law School Professor Steven Shavell.

Harvard Law School Professor Steven Shavell received the 2014 Ronald H. Coase Medal from the American Law and Economics Association at its annual meeting May 9.  Shavell is the Samuel R. Rosenthal Professor of Law and Economics and director of the John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics and Business at Harvard Law School.

The Coase medal, established by the American Law and Economics Association in 2010, is awarded in recognition of major contributions to the field of law and economics. The bi-annual award is named in honor of Ronald Coase, who won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1991. The award was given to Judge Richard A. Posner in 2010 and to Judge Guido Calabresi in 2012, founders of the field. Recipients’ lectures are published in the American Law and Economics Review.

Judge Posner presented the medal to Shavell at the awards luncheon at the University of Chicago School of Law, stating that he is widely regarded as the “preeminent figure” among economists who specialize in economic analysis of law.

Upon learning that Shavell would receive the award, Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow said, “The peer recognition embodied in the Coase Medal is as good as it comes—and that is why it is so wonderful to see it awarded to Steve Shavell. He’s as good as they come, and his work illuminates field after field of law through thoughtful and rigorous use of economic analysis.”

Shavell is an expert on the economic analysis of the basic subject areas of law—contracts, torts, property, and criminal law. He served on the faculty of the Department of Economics at Harvard University for six years before joining the Harvard Law School faculty in 1980. Shavell is a past director of the Law and Economics Program of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a co-founder and past president of the American Law and Economics Association.

After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1968, he was an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service at the Centers for Disease Control from 1968 to 1970, and obtained a Ph.D. in economics from M.I.T. in 1973.

Shavell is the author of numerous articles and several books, including “Foundations of Economic Analysis of Law” (Harvard University Press, 2004) and “Economic Analysis of Accident Law” (Harvard University Press, 1987).

The American Law and Economics Association is dedicated to the advancement of economic understanding of law and related areas of public policy and regulation. Founded in 1991, the membership includes academic and practicing lawyers and economists. The association holds an annual two-day meeting in May at which members present papers dealing with a wide variety of topics concerning the interrelation of law and economics. Since 1999, the Association has published the American Law and Economics Review.