Both the novelty and the uniqueness of the "law and economics" movement of the last fifteen years have been greatly exaggerated. Law and economics has been with us for at least a half century, in nearly every area of private and public law. The most outspoken protagonists of law and economics admit that economics had a presence in antitrust and regulatory policy long before the work of Ronald Coase, Lester Telser, and others inspired its expanded use in areas of private law, such as tort and contract. But even then, some of those who would make such an admission would argue that the courts developed a uniquely "economic approach" to antitrust only in the late seventies, and, since that time, have applied it only haltingly."
Derek Bok and the Merger of Law and Economics,
U. Mich. J. L. Reform
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjlr/vol21/iss4/3