Economic Assessment of Law

Economic Assessment of International Commercial Law Reform

This project, run by Professor Jeffrey Wool, seeks to develop standards for the economic assessment of international commercial law reform.

Economic benefits, whether micro, macro, or developmental, are usually stated to be the central and driving objective of, and justification for ICLR. Yet the evidence of such benefits, the characteristics of law reform needed to produce such benefits, the data and methodology to establish such benefits (the core EA elements), inter alia, has not yet been subject to systematic academic work. There are few, if any, agreed international principles, standards, or parameters for assessing economic benefits in this context.

This project was initially started in 2015 as a joint undertaking between the UNIDROIT Foundation, the Commercial Law Centre of Harris Manchester College at Oxford University, and the Global Business Law Institute at the University of Washington. Additionally, it was initially established through a generous donation from the Aviation Working Group, and will be managed in the future in connection with the Cape Town Convention Academic Project, in partnership with UNIDROIT, the UNIDROIT Foundation, the University of Cambridge Faculty of Law, and the Aviation Working Group.

This project provides a platform for work in the area of conducting economic assessments of international commercial law reform by seeking to create, principles, standards, and parameters. The project has three main objectives:

i. To research, collect, and assess information relating to the production of economic benefits of ICLR, centred on the core EA elements.
ii. To develop guidelines for governmental economic impact and cost-benefit analyses of ICLR.
iii. To produce a framework document on the economic assessment of ICLR, which would be a resource for those involved in the creation or implementation of an ICLR instrument.

This is an inter-disciplinary project with involvement from industry, national governments, international organisations, legal scholars and economists.

Five workshops for the project have previously been held at the University of Oxford and UNIDROIT. Executive summaries for these can be accessed from the column on the right. Over the course of these workshops, progress has been made towards the development of a comprehensive framework to conduct economic assessments of ICLR projects. A large gap was identified between theory and practice in this area, as rigorous economic analysis processes are not consistently used in regulatory decision making. At the end of the fifth workshop, the below framework was produced: