Nadia E. Nedzel, 2018-19 HOPE Center Fellow


As a legal scholar at Southern University Law Center, Nadia E. Nedzel brings an unusual perspective to the Center and to the history of economics.

Or maybe not. “Remember, Friedrich Hayek was originally trained as a lawyer,” Nadia points out, “as, for that matter, was Carl Menger, the founder of the Austrian school.”

 It is through Hayek that Nadia’s work connects with economics. She is writing on the intersection of the rule of law, economic development, and corporate governance—and as it turns out, Hayek had something to say about those areas.

As she explains in a 2018 article published in the Washington University Global Studies Law Review, the rule of law is often misunderstood. “You need two things to have a rule of law: law and order, and limited government. Otherwise, you often get rule through law, which is not the same thing.”

The rule of law and economic development go hand in hand, Nadia says. “That’s what Hayek was getting at in The Road to Serfdom.”

When it comes to corporate governance, we need to hold elected officials accountable and let businesses fail. “Otherwise, we get crony capitalism.”

Nadia is bringing those three components—the rule of law, development, and corporate governance—together in a manuscript that will become a book to be published by Edward Elgar.

In choosing to spend a semester at the Center, Nadia, whose previous book, Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing for International Graduate Students, is now in its fourth edition, was looking to challenge herself by participating in a different kind of community than the one she is used to.

“This is proving to be an interesting experience, having a legal background as I do. Anthropologists taught me to study various microcultures in order to gain insight into my own views as well as others. So it is with economics for me. I’m learning a lot about both history and economics.  However, typical of what anthropologists call ‘culture shock,’ what sometimes seems like an insight to me turns out to be old hat for the historians and economists in the group.”

The influence works the other way as well, as Nadia is able to bring up at our weekly Friday discussions the legal contexts of a particular period or country.

Indeed, it is the collegiality at the Center that makes it a special place for her. “It’s such a pleasure to be surrounded by so many people interested in the subjects I’m working on, and vice versa.”

A resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but a native of Chicago, Nadia is happy to be in a part of the country where there is spring.

Any surprises? “I didn’t know I’d love Durham so much,” she says.