Law and Economics
Spring 2016 GMU Syllabus

Economics 415-001 (#10835), meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00-10:15am during Spring 2016, in Planetary Hall, Room 120.

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Assoc. Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Officially Thursday 5:00-7:00pm, but I'm usually in at Carow Hall 10B. 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 Texts:
David D. Friedman, Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters, Princeton Univ. Press 2001, ISBN 9780691090092.
Recommended Text:

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
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: What remedy or damages for cuckoldry leading to kid?
  3. Crime: Should private bounty hunters replace public police and prosecutors in detecting and prosecuting crime?
Due Dates: Grade Weights: Class Participate 5%, 13% per Quiz and paper, 17% final.

Week Text ChaptersLecture Topics
19,21 JanF1-3, P1-2, C1-2 Law Intro, Economics Review
26,28 JanF4, C3,4Institutions & Coasean Analysis No Class All Week
2,4 FebF5,10, P4, C4 Property
9,11 FebF11, C5 Property
16,18 FebF12, P5, C6 Contract No Class Tuesday
23,25 FebF13, P8, C7 Contract
1,3 Mar Contract
8,10 Mar Spring Break
15,17 MarF14, P6, C8 Accident
22,24 Mar No Class This week
29,31 MarF14, P7, C9 Accident
5,7 AprF15, P10, C11Crime
13,14 AprF18, P11, C12 Crime
19,21 AprC10, P16 Legal Process No Class Tuesday
26,28 Apr F17 Private Law No Class Tuesday
3 May No Class
5 May, 9:45-11:45am Final Exam.

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.