Legal History as Economic History

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Legal History as Economic History surveys the current state of scholarship on the border between legal and economic history, describing the major questions asked by recent scholarship and pointing out directions for future research. The chapter identifies the key concerns that have guided much of the work in this field and describes two theoretical frameworks available to legal historians for conceptualizing the relationship between law and economy. It concludes that future work on the history of political economy should put aside the time-worn project of measuring the impact of law on economy (and vice versa) and instead explore how the boundary between law and economy has been constructed and maintained over time. Throughout, the chapter draws on examples from recent scholarship.

Publication Citation

in The Oxford Handbook of Legal History (Markus D. Dubber & Christopher Tomlins eds., Oxford University Press 2018).