Law and Economics
Fall 20210 GMU Syllabus

Economics 415-001 (#79662), meets online Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00-10:15am during Fall 2020. I'll send Zoom invites via email to registered students. Please have a working camera and mic so we can see and hear you.

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Assoc. Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Email me to arrange a video-chat meeting; suggest a day/time you'd like to meet.

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. Online here
David D. Friedman, Legal Systems Very Different From Ours, unpublished. Free online!
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. Who Gets What Orbits, Asteroids, and Sunlight?
  2. What remedy or damages for cuckoldry leading to kid?
  3. As with cars, should everyone have to get a voucher to cover all legal liability, including crime?
Due Dates: Grade Weights: Class Participate 5%, 13% per Quiz and paper, 17% final.

Week Text ChaptersLecture Topics Notes
25,27 AugF1-3, P1-2, C1-2 Law Intro, Econ Review
1, 3 SepF4,C3,4 Institutions and Coasean Analysis
8,10 SepF5,10,P4,C4Property
15,17 SepF5,10,P4,C4Property
15,17 SepF5,10,P4,C4Property Continued Quiz Thursday
22,24 SepF11, C5 Property Continued
29Sep,1OctF12, P5, C6 Contract
6,8 OctF13, P8, C7 Contract, Thursday Guest Lecture: Ben Schifman
13,15 OctF14, P6, C8 Tuesday Guest Lecture: John Fuisz Quiz/Paper Thursday
20,22 OctF14, P7, C9 Tort
27,29 OctC10, P16Legal Process Thursday Guest Lecture: Justin Dillon
3,5 NovC10, P16Legal Process Continued No Class Tuesday, Quiz/Paper Thursday
10,12 NovF15, P10, C11 Crime
17,19 NovF18, P11, C12 Crime Continued
24,26 Nov Crime Continued No Class Thursday, Paper Due Tuesday
30Nov,2DecF17 Private Law
10 Dec Final Exam, 7:30am-10:10am.