This course provides an introduction to economic analysis of law. The course covers economic analysis of torts, contracts, criminal law, cost benefit analysis, health, safety, and environmental regulation, risk and insurance, behavioral law and economics, and legal procedure. The economic approach is introduced using simple examples and problem sets, and then extended using case studies of particular topics. Case studies will be chosen based on student interest. Possible case study topics include a comparison of the tort system and no-fault liability for preventing medical errors, the problem of insuring against natural catastrophes, the regulation of sub-prime mortgage lending, and the politics of risk regulation. No prior knowledge of economic analysis is required. Students will be evaluated based on class participation, completion of a handful of problem sets, and either an open book exam or a paper.
Faculty comments: This course teaches students how to evaluate the likely effects of different legal rules and institutions using the tools of economic analysis. The course uses simple numerical examples to illustrate the core concepts of law and economics. There are no graphs or equations, and no background in economics is required. Students take turns explaining how different factors influence the efficiency of legal rules. The course uses in-class exercises and problem sets to give students practice in analyzing problems. Most students take the final exam, which is open book and open note, but it is possible to substitute a paper with my advance permission. Grades are based on class participation, problem sets, and the final exam (or paper). The first two-thirds of the semester are spent learning the basic tools of economic analysis; the final third of the semester is spent studying particular topics (currently corporate liability and medical no-fault, health and safety regulation, and behavioral law and economics).
List of Recommended Perspectives Courses
Financial Services Concentration Requirements
Exam or Paper Required
<<Course Updated: October 20, 2010>>