Law and Economics
Fall 2002 GMU Syllabus

Economics 415, meets Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9:30-10:20a during Fall 2002, in room Enterprise Hall 277.

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Asst. Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Officially Monday 10:30-12. But I'm usually in at Carow Hall 10A. Call ahead (703-993-2326) if you want to be sure.

Catalog Entry:

Econ 415 Law and Economics (3:3:0). Prerequisite: ECON 306 or permission of instructor. An economic analysis of the law. Topics include an introduction to legal institutions and legal analysis; application of economic concepts to the law of property, contracts and torts, criminal law, and constitutional law; the economic efficiency of the common law; and a public choice perspective on the evolution of the law.
Required Text:
Robert Cooter, Thomas Ulen, Law & Economics, Third Edition, 2000, Addison Wesley, ISBN 0-321-06482-8.
Reccomended Texts:
David D. Friedman, Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters, 2000, Princeton Univ. Press, ISBN 0-691-01016-1.
Richard Posner, Economic Analysis of Law, 5th ed., 1998. Aspen Publishers, ISBN 1-56706-562-7
Goal of Class
To become familiar with basic facts and issues in the economics of law, and to be able to use basic theory of law and economics to argue for particular legal outcomes.
Assignments: Legal Opinion Topics
  1. Property: Who Gets What Asteriods and Sunlight?
  2. Contract: When can break agreement to take a job, to take another job, and what are damages?
  3. Tort: Negative Liability for Ratting on Cheating Spouses and Signficant Others
  4. Crime: Death for copyright violation, and huge bounties for catching?
Due Dates: Grade Weights:
Week Text ChapterLecture Topics
26 Aug 1,2 Law Intro, Economics Review
2 Sept 3 Law and Legal Institutions
9 Sept 4 Coasean Analysis
16 Sept 4 Property
23 Sept 5 Property Continued
30 Sept 6 Contract
7 Oct 7 Contract Continued
14 Oct - Freedom of Contract
21 Oct 8 Tort
28 Oct 9 Tort Continued
4 Nov 10 Legal Process
11 Nov 11 Crime
18 Nov 12 Crime Continue
25 Nov 12 Crime Continued
2 Dec - Private Law