In 2006, with the support of Chancellor Nick Zeppos (then Provost), Joni Hersch and W. Kip Viscusi moved from Harvard Law School to Vanderbilt to launch a new Ph.D. program that would focus on integrating the study of economics with the study of law. The Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics at Vanderbilt was the first Ph.D. program to be administratively based in a law school. Designed by Professors Hersch and Viscusi, together with economics professor Kathryn H. Anderson, the program offers 11 new and innovative courses specifically developed for this Ph.D. program. The program's field design requires students to fully integrate law and economics in specialized areas of interest.
Professor Paige Marta Skiba joined the law and economics faculty in Fall 2007. Sharon A. Shewmake joined the program as Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Fall 2010 and stayed at Vanderbilt for three years. The program's first graduate, Jennifer Bennett Shinall, was a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Law and Economics in 2013-2014 and joined the law and economics faculty in Fall 2014. The program's third graduate, Caroline Cecot, was a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Law and Economics in 2014-2015.
The first cohort of students entered in Fall 2007, and the program has graduated ten joint-degree students: Jennifer Bennett Shinall (2012), Jinghui Lim (2013), Caroline Cecot (2014), Blair Druhan Bullock (2015), Jacob P. Byl (2015), Benjamin J. McMichael (2015), Samuel M. Miller (2015), Elissa Philip Gentry (2016), Henri Rautonen (2016), and Jean Y. Xiao (2017).
We currently have eleven students in residence in the joint-degree program, ranging from year one to year six.