Keynote Address: Is There a George Mason School of Law and Economics?


This article is the edited transcript of remarks provided in November 2013 on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the George Mason Law and Economics Center and the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the George Mason Journal of Law, Economics & Policy. The title of the conference was “The Unique Contributions of Armen Alchian, Robert Bork, and James Buchanan to the George Mason University School of Law.” In it I pose the question: “Is there a George Mason School of Law and Economics?” and I answer in the affirmative. I argue that the George Mason tradition of law and economics is a synthesis of multiple complementary schools of law and economics—Austrian, Chicago, UCLA, Virginia, and Washington—focused on spontaneous order, private ordering, dynamic market processes, and property rights. Given the subject of the conference, these remarks focus specifically on UCLA (Alchian), Chicago (Bork), and Virginia (Buchanan), but are not meant to discount the equally important influences of these complementary traditions.