Law and Economics
Spring 2021 GMU Syllabus

Economics 415-002, meets Wednesdays 4:30-7:10pm during Spring 2021, in Buchanan Hall 005

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Assoc. Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Officially Wednesday 3:00-4:15pm, but I'm available at far more times. We are supposed to do this via Zoom for now. Email me with a suggestion about when to talk.

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David D. Friedman, Legal Systems Very Different From Ours, unpublished.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: Defended Opinion Topics
  1. Who Gets What Orbits, Asteroids, and Sunlight
  2. What remedy for husband unknowingly raising kid not his?
  3. Should we give convicts option of X years of exile instead of Y years of prison, for some X(Y) schedule?
Due Dates: Grade Weights: Class Participate 5%, 13% per Quiz and paper, 17% final.

Week Text ChaptersLecture Topics Notes
27 JanF1-3, P1-2, C1-2 Law Intro, Econ Review
3 FebF4,C3,4 Institutions and Coasean Analysis
10 FebF5,10,P4,C4Property
17 FebF11, C5 Property Continued Quiz
24 FebF12, P5, C6Contract
3 MarF13, P8, C7Contract continued
10 MarF14, P6, C8Tort Quiz/Paper
17 MarF14, P7, C9Tort, Legal Process
24 MarC10, P16 Legal Process
31 MarC10, P16 Legal Process
7 AprF15, P10, C11 Crime Quiz/Paper
14 AprF18, P11, C12 Crime Continued
21 AprF17 Private Law
28 AprF17 Private Law Paper
5 May Final Exam, 4:30-7:15pm.