Law and Economics
Fall 2018 GMU Syllabus

Economics 415-001 (#73719), meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30-11:45am during Fall 2018, in Robinson Hall B, Room 111.

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Assoc. Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Officially Tuesdays 9:15-10:15am, but I'm usually in at Carow Hall 10A. Email or call ahead (703-993-2326) if you want to be sure I'll be in.

Catalog Entry:

Econ 415 Law and Economics. Credits 3 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:
David D. Friedman, Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters, Princeton Univ. Press 2001, ISBN 9780691090092. Free online!
Recommended Texts:

A. Mitchell Polinsky, Introduction To Law and Economics, 4th Edition Aspen Publishers, 2011, ISBN 9780735584488.

Robert Cooter and Thomas Ulen, Law and Economics, Sixth Edition, Addison Wesley 2013, ISBN 9780132540650. Free here
David D. Friedman, Legal Systems Very Different From Ours, unpublished. Free here!
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 Orbits, Asteroids, and Sunlight?
  2. Contract: When should who be excused from a contract that they signed, because that contract is complex?
  3. Crime: Should everyone be required to buy insurance to pay if they commit a crime?
Due Dates: Grade Weights: Class Participate 5%, 13% per Quiz and paper, 17% final.

Week Text ChaptersLecture Topics Notes
28,30 Aug F1-3, P1-2, C1-2 Law Intro, Econ Review
4,6 SepF4,C3,4 Institutions and Coasean Analysis No Class Tuesday
11,13 SepF5,10,P4,C4 Property
18,20 SepF11, C5 Property Continued
25,27 SepF12, P5, C6 Contract Quiz Tuesday
2,4 OctF13, P8, C7Contract continued
9,11 Oct No Class This Week
16,18 OctF14, P6, C8 Tort
23,25 Oct No Class Tuesday, Quiz/Paper Thursday
30 Oct, 1 NovF14, P7, C9 Tort Continued
6,8 NovC10, P16Legal Process
13,15 NovF15, P10, C11 Crime Snow Thursday
20,22 Nov Quiz/Paper Tuesday, No Class Thursday
27,29 NovF18, P11, C12 Crime Continued
4, 6 DecF17 no class this week
10 DecF17 Private Law Paper Due
18 Dec Final Exam, 10:30am-1:15pm.