This panel will explore earlier critical legal theory movements that form the background for LPE today, including critical legal studies (CLS), critical race theory (CRT), and feminist and queer legal theory. CLS distributional analysis borrowed liberally from neo-classical economics, institutional economics and Marxist economics. Key CLS themes included examining legal background rules as targets for structural change, the critique of efficiency analysis in law and economics as a false legitimating discourse, and the analysis of new rights for weak parties as good or bad depending on actual distributive effects.
Critical race theory exposed the role of the law in the production and maintenance of racial categories with profound distributive consequences. And, feminist and queer legal theory demonstrated how family law has been deemed exceptional in thinking about law and political economy and established queer-inflected distributional analysis to examine how gender operates as distributional axis. In drawing out these themes, the authors will make linkages to the ongoing work of the LPE community to uncover the role of law, power, and politics in the construction of political economy and the simultaneous elision of the role of family, race, and gender in the making of economies.