The Law and Political Economy (LPE) Project brings together a network of scholars, practitioners, and students working to develop innovative intellectual, pedagogical, and political interventions to advance the study of political economy and law. Our work is rooted in the insight that politics and the economy cannot be separated and that both are constructed in essential respects by law. We believe that developments over the last several decades in legal scholarship and policy helped to facilitate rising inequality and precarity, political alienation, the entrenchment of racial hierarchies and intersectional exploitation, and ecological and social catastrophe. We aim to help reverse these trends by supporting scholarly work that maps where we have gone wrong, and that develops ideas and proposals to democratize our political economy and build a more just, equal, and sustainable future.
LPE approaches illuminate the role of law and legal discourse in the creation and maintenance of capitalism and in mediating tensions between capitalist order and democratic self-rule. Scholars in our network work to understand the relationship between market supremacy and racial, gender, and economic injustice; to articulate the relationship between capitalism and devaluation of social and ecological reproduction; and to explore the distinctive ways that law gives shape to and legitimates neoliberal capitalism, ranging from dynamics of financialization to the relation between the carceral state and capitalism. We also seek to offer concrete legal reforms designed to move beyond neoliberalism and toward a genuinely responsive, egalitarian democracy, with critical attention to the need for power and movement-building as part of any such transformation.
In pursuit of these goals, we support the development of LPE-focused conferences, working groups, networks, courses and course material. We also work to connect scholars with activists, practitioners, and policy specialists, to ensure that LPE work both supports and is informed by those working on the ground.
The LPE Project is made possible through grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Economic Security Project. It is currently housed at Yale Law School.