Law and Economics
Fall 2001 GMU Syllabus

Economics 415, meets Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 1:30-2:20 during Fall 2001, in room Krug Hall (KH) 205.

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Asst. Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Officially Monday 2:30-4. But I'm usually in at Carow Hall 10b. Call ahead (703-993-2326) if you want to be sure.

Catalog Entry:

Econ 415 Law and Economics (3:3:0). 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:
Robert Cooter, Thomas Ulen, Law & Economics, Third Edition, 2000, Addison Wesley, ISBN 0-321-06482-8.
Reccomended Texts:
David D. Friedman, Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters, 2000, Princeton Univ. Press, ISBN 0-691-01016-1.
Richard Posner, Economic Analysis of Law, 5th ed., 1998. Aspen Publishers, ISBN 1-56706-562-7
(You can search for the lowest text price via ClickTheButton.)
Goal of Class
To become familiar with basic facts and issues in the economics of law, and to be able to use basic theory of law and economics to argue for particular legal outcomes.
Assignments: Legal Opinion Topics
  1. Property: Who Gets What Asteriods and Sunlight?
  2. Contract: Enforce Voluntary No-Fault Contract On Pedestrian-Car Accident?
  3. Tort: Negative Liability for Introducing Couples
  4. Crime: Choose punishment types under private law (e.g., fine, torture, prison, death, prison rape)
  5. Your Choice of Topic (If you ask, we can schedule a class discussion of your chosen topic.)
Due Dates: Grade Weights:
Week Text ChapterLecture Topics
27 Aug 1,2 Law Intro, Econ Review
3 Sept 3 Law and Legal Institutions
10 Sept 4 Coasean Analysis
17 Sept 4 Property
24 Sept 5 Property Continued
1 Oct 6 Contract
8 Oct 7 Contract Continued
15 Oct - Freedom of Contract
22 Oct 8 Tort
29 Oct 9 Tort Continued
5 Nov 10 Legal Process
12 Nov 10 Legal Process Continued
19 Nov 11 Crime
26 Nov 12 Crime Continued
3 Dec - Private Law