Professor Brinig Delivers Keynote Address at Law and Economics Conference

Author: Susan Good

Peg Brinig 2010

Professor Margaret Brinig, Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Fritz Duda Family Chair in Law, will deliver the keynote address at the Canadian Law and Economics Association (CLEA) Annual Meeting, which is being held October 1-2 at the University of Toronto.

Professor Brinig’s public lecture, entitled “Two Takes on Pluralism in Family Law: A Law and Economics Approach”, will consider differences in the way Canada and the United States handle claims that cohabiting couples should be treated like married couples. The United States has maintained the legal boundaries between cohabitation and marriage, whereas Canada has extended government benefits to all families, formal or de facto.

Brinig’s address will analyze the effect these differing policies have had on two minority groups, the Quebecois and African-Americans, both of which have more cohabitation than marriage. One substantial difference is that adolescents in Quebec have very high rates of suicide, while African Americans experience lower rates than other American groups. Brinig suggests that families need the support of outside communities to thrive. While the Quebecois have become a very secular society (and in fact no longer have parochial schools), African Americans are more religious than most Americans.

Professor Brinig has been an active member and participant in CLEA for nearly two decades. During that time, she has presented papers at 13 CLEA events. She also has served on CLEA’s Executive Committee since 1996, including service as Secretary (1998-2000), Web Master (2000-2004), Vice President (2000-2002), and President (2002-2004).

Here at Notre Dame, she is also the co-director of the Notre Dame Law and Economics (NDL&E) Program, an interdisciplinary initiative which the Law School recently launched to encourage research and scholarship in law and economics and law and the social sciences. In addition, she is currently co-teaching a Law and Economics Seminar, an innovative new course involving workshop presentations by leading scholars in the economic analysis of law.

Professor Brinig’s primary research and writing field is the law and economics of the family, and she is especially interested in empirical answers to questions addressed by law. Brinig has written more than 70 articles and book chapters and has worked with coauthors in law, economics, sociology, medicine and public health from all over the United States and from Canada. Among her recent publications is Family, Law, and Community: Supporting the Covenant (University of Chicago Press 2010), a sequel to her earlier book From Contract to Covenant: Beyond the Law and Economics of the Family (Harvard University Press 2000). She referees for numerous journals and presses including the American Law and Economics Review, Journal of Legal Studies, and Yale University Press. For more on Professor Brinig, visit her faculty profile web page.