Socio-legal studies and economics
In this chapter, I discuss the relationship between socio-legal studies and economics from the perspective of my research on the regulation of government procurement. In the process, the chapter touches upon apparent conflict between “law and economics”, which is a popular approach to studying commercial areas such as government procurement law, and socio-legal studies/law and society. In the chapter, I describe how I seek to engage with mainstream economics, as well as heterodox viewpoints, to study “social value” procurement across UK government. Since the 2007–08 financial crisis, which, arguably, exposed over-dependence on mainstream economics and economic expertise, there have been prominent campaigns for greater pluralism in economics – that is, more recognition for the variety of “schools” of economics and the importance of social and historical context for understanding the economy. Socio-legal scholars are increasingly embracing this intellectual moment, engaging with new and heterodox perspectives, and we are seeing an exciting wave of fresh, innovative and policy-relevant research.