Law and Economics
Spring 2020 GMU Syllabus

Economics 415-001, meets Wednesdays 4:30-7:15pm during Spring 2020, in Carow Hall, Room 01 (and online from 25Mar on)

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Assoc. Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Officially Wednesday 3:00-4:15pm, but I'm usually in at Carow Hall 10A. 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 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David D. Friedman, Legal Systems Very Different From Ours, unpublished.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 or damages for cuckoldry leading to kid?
  3. Should everyone be required get someone with deep pockets to vouch them them?
Due Dates: Grade Weights: Class Participate 5%, 13% per Quiz and paper, 17% final.

Week Text ChaptersLecture Topics Notes
22 JanF1-3, P1-2, C1-2 Law Intro, Econ Review
29 JanF4,C3,4 Institutions and Coasean Analysis
5 FebF5,10,P4,C4Property
12 FebF11, C5 Property Continued Quiz
19 FebF12, P5, C6Contract
26 FebF13, P8, C7Contract continued
4 MarF14, P6, C8Tort
11 Mar Spring Break
18 Mar Extended Spring Break
25 MarF14, P7, C9Tort, Legal Process Quiz/Paper
1 AprC10, P16 Legal Process, Guest Lecture: Ben Schifman
8 AprC10, P16 Legal Process, Guest Lecture: John Fuisz
15 AprF15, P10, C11 Crime Quiz/Paper
22 AprF18, P11, C12 Crime Continued
29 AprF17 Private Law Paper
06 MayF17 Private Law
13 May Final Exam, 4:30-7:15pm.