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Law and Economics
LAW & ECON
CLASS CODE: ECON 440 CREDITS:  3
DIVISION: BUSINESS & COMMUNICATION
DEPARTMENT: ECONOMICS
GENERAL EDUCATION: This course does not fulfill a General Education requirement.

DESCRIPTION: This course uses economic analysis to analyze the basic common law areas of torts, contracts, property, and criminal law. Economic tools are used both to understand the basic structure of the law (positive analysis), and to suggest how the law might be made more efficient (normative analysis). The course assesses whether individuals or collective action (courts) are better for addressing market failures. Transaction costs and litigation costs (among other things) are crucial to the assessment. This course is recommended for economics majors who are planning to go to law school or who intend to pursue a career in the legal field. "For the rational study of the law...the man of the future is the man of statistics and economics." (Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Path of Law, 1897)
TAUGHT: Fall 2004, Summer 2005, Winter 2006
CONTENT AND TOPICS:

  • Introduction to Law and Economics

  • Review of Microeconomic Theory

  • Introduction to Law and Legal Institutions

  • An Economic Theory of Property

  • Topics in the Economics of Property Law

  • An Economic Theory of the Contract

  • Topics in the Economics of Contract Law

  • An Economic Theory of Tort Law

  • Topics in the Economics of Tort Liability

  • An Economic Theory of the Legal Process

  • An Economic Theory of Crime and Punishment

  • Topics in the Economics of Crime and Punishment

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES:

  1. Provide a basic understanding of Law and Economics topics.

  2. Develop the ability to think analytically and logically by examining topics, issues, and relationships pertaining to Law and Economics.

  3. Obtain new tools for considering other policy issues (even those outside the realm of the Law) and be able to form conclusions on their own.

  4. Give experience in applying Law and Economics theories to “real-world” situations through exercises, visiting speakers, and writing assignments.


REQUIREMENTS:

  • Prepare for class by doing the assigned reading and then attend class sessions being awake and alert, ready to contribute to class discussions.

  • Take at least 9 of the 10 quizzes given in class.

  • Take four exams.

  • Complete the three writing assignments that apply the Law and Economics topics of the class to articles found in financial journals and publications.

PREREQUISITES: Economics 111, 112
OTHER:
EFFECTIVE DATE: August 2002