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The centre's primary focus is upon three major research programs:
- Public Law, Policy, Finance, & Management
- International Trade & Competition, Industry, Business Law & Regulation
- Social Law, Policy, Finance & Management (including Welfare, Superannuation, Health, Education, Employment and Family Policy)
Dr George Barker has been the Director of the Centre since 1998. Dr George Barker has a Doctorate in Economics from Oxford University, and holds both a law degree and Master of Economics. He was awarded the Olin Fellowship in Law and Economics at Cornell University in 2000. He is on the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Law and Economics and is the editor of Asia Pacific Law and Economics Review (ANU E-Press). He is past President of the Australian Law and Economics Association, an elected Fellow of the Law and Economics Association of New Zealand, and the past CEO, and former Board member of LECG Asia Pacific Ltd.
The Australian Law and Economics Association (AustLEA) promotes the economic analysis of legal rules and institutions and serves as a forum for the exchange of information, analysis and ideas.
Founded in 1996 the Centre for Law & Economics at the ANU College of Law seeks to promote and produce research involving the application of economic analysis to law. The economic analysis of law has long been prevalent in Tax law, and Competition law & in regulated industries, but has also extended into other traditional legal areas including Property, Contract, Torts, Criminal, and Constitutional law. In the US it has become the dominant method in major Law Journals and several US Federal Judges use Law and Economics in their judgements (eg Breyer, Posner, Easterbrook, Calabresi, Bork). Over the past 30 years Nobel Prizes for economic analysis of law and institutions have been awarded to Williamson, Ostrom, North, Becker, Coase, Buchanan, and Stigler.