Law and Economics
Fall 2010 GMU Syllabus

Economics 415, meets Tuesdays, 10:30-11:45am during Fall 2010, in Blueridge Hall, Room 129.

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Associate Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Officially Tues-Thurs 1:30-3p. 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.
Recommended Text:

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

Robert Cooter and Thomas Ulen, Law and Economics, Fifth Edition, Addison Wesley 2008, 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 or damages for cuckold?
  3. Defend a Design: A punishment plan for any punishment level
Due Dates: Grade Weights: Class Participate 5%, 13% per Quiz and paper, 17% final.
Week Text ChaptersLecture Topics
31 AugF1-3, P1-2, C1-2 Law Intro, Economics Review
7 Sept C3 Law and Legal Institutions
14 SeptF4, C4 Coasean Analysis No Class Thursday
21 SeptF5,10, P4, C4 Property
28 SeptF11, C5 Property Continued
5 Oct F12, P5, C6 Contract
12 Oct Contract Continued No Class Tuesday
19 Oct F13, P8, C7 Contract Continued
26 Oct F14, P6, C8 Tort
2 Nov F14, P7, C9 Tort Continued
9 Nov C10, P16 Legal Process
16 Nov F15, P10, C11 Crime
23 Nov F18, P11, C12 Crime Continued No Class Thursday
30 NovF17 Private Law
7 Dec Other Alternatives No Class Tuesday
14 Dec Final Exam, 10:30am-1:15pm.

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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