Graduate Law and Economics I
Fall 2020 GMU Syllabus

Economics 840-001 (#82797), meets in person Tuesdays 7:20-10:00pm during Fall 2020, in Carow Hall, Room 01.

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

Catalog Entry:

Econ 840 Law and Economics I. Credits: 3. Prerequisite: ECON 611 or 811 or permission of instructor. Uses economics to analyze U.S. Common-law system, evaluating efficiency and logic of evolution.
Class Concept
By grad school, students know the drill cold: read assignments, hear lectures, do homework, and spit it all back on the exam. Problem is, just then the game changes from grades to papers; few will care about your grades, compared to your research papers, written and published. A research paper is not a term paper, and can't be dashed off the weekend before it is due. A research paper does not offer a broad overview; it says something specific and new, even if minor, that fits in a context of other research papers.

My class is designed to aid this transition. Instead of covering many topics briefly, we cover fewer deeper. The research paper is half your grade, and can be all your grade if you want. You must choose a model paper early in the semester, write a referee report on it, and present it in class. Then meeting with me frequently one on one, we look for and then create some variation on that model paper.

Assignments: Required Text:

Steven Shavell, Foundations of Economic Analysis of Law, Harvard University Press, 2004, ISBN 0674011554

Recommended Texts:
David D. Friedman, Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters, Princeton Univ. Press 2000, ISBN 0691090092.
Robert Cooter and Thomas Ulen, Law and Economics, Sixth Edition, Addison Wesley 2013, ISBN 9780132540650. Online here
Thomas Miceli, The Economic Approach to Law, Second Edition, Stanford University Press, 2009, ISBN 9780804756709
David D. Friedman, Legal Systems Very Different From Ours, unpublished. Free online!
Week Text ChaptersLecture Topics
25 AugS1-3 Intro, Property
1 SepS4-7 Property
8 SepS4-7 Property
15 SepS13-14 Contract
22 SepS15-16 Contract
29 SepS8-10 Accident Model paper due
6 OctS8-10 Student Presentations Referee report due
13 Oct 2 Lawyer Guest Lectures
20 OctS8-10 Accident
27 OctS17-19 Legal Process
3 Nov No Class
10 NovS17-19 Legal Process
17 NovS20-22 Crime
24 NovS23-24 Crime
1 Dec Private Law
15 Dec 7:30-10:15pm, Final Presentations, papers due