Law and Economics
Fall 2009 GMU Syllabus

Economics 415, meets Tuesdays, 7:20-10:00p during Fall 2009, in Robinson Hall, Room A123.

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Assoc. Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Officially Tues-Thurs 6-7p. 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 Texts:
David D. Friedman, Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters, Princeton Univ. Press 2000, ISBN 0691090092.

A. Mitchell Polinsky, Introduction To Law and Economics, Third Edition Aspen Publishers, 2003, ISBN 9780735534735.

Recommended Text:
Robert Cooter and Thomas Ulen, Law and Economics, Fifth Edition, Addison Wesley 2007, ISBN 0-321-33634-8
Goal of Class
Gain familiarity with basic facts and issues in the economics of law, and an ability to use basic economics to argue for particular legal outcomes.
Assignments: Legal Opinion Topics
  1. Property: Who Gets What Asteriods and Sunlight?
  2. Contract: What remedy and damages for breaching job contract?
  3. What remedy and damages for cuckold? Limit to 2 pages.
Due Dates: Grade Weights: Class Participate 5%, 13% per Quiz and paper, 17% final.
Week Text ChaptersLecture Topics
1 Sept F1-3, P1-2, C1-2 Law Intro, Economics Review
8 Sept C3 Law and Legal Institutions
15 SeptF4, C4 Coasean Analysis
22 SeptF5,10, P4, C4 Property
29 SeptF11, C5 Property Continued
6 Oct F12, P5, C6 Contract
13 Oct no class this week
20 Oct F13, P8, C7 Contract Continued
27 Oct F14, P6, C8 Tort
3 Nov F14, P7, C9 Tort Continued
10 Nov C10, P16 Legal Process
17 Nov F15, P10, C11 Crime
24 Nov F18, P11, C12 Crime Continue
1 Dec F17 Private Law
8 Dec Other Alternatives
15 Dec Final Exam, 7:30p-10:15p

Disability Notice

If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at 703.993.2474. All academic accommodations must be arranged through that office.

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