The course pursues three goals: (i) (content goal) get students exposed to a number of arguments about the consequences of legal rules for the economy, arguments which, given the pervasiveness of law and economics scholarship, are present in many of the debates surrounding legislative or case law developments; (ii) (attitudinal goal) increase awareness of the possibility of, and limits to, raising economic arguments when discussing such developments; (iii) (skill goal) train students in the written and oral analysis and exposition of either classical or thorny problems in legal doctrine and practice.
This course aims to teach law students how to think about the law like an economist. When looking at the law, economists are interested primarily in the question 'how much value does this law create for the economy?' This is why in this course we are going to study a number of economics concepts, such as efficiency, transaction costs and other that can help us understand how law contributes to the creation of value in the economy. We will focus on both private law (property, contract, corporate) as well as public law (regulation, international trade law).
Type of instructions
The final grade in the course will be based on essay and presentation (50%) and a final written examination (50%).
Type of exams
Essay and presentation: In the second meeting, students will be asked to form groups of 2-3 and choose one topic per group for their essay and presentation from a selection of topics that will be covered throughout the course. The essay is not meant as an original research piece. Instead, it is meant to summarize and document the classical arguments surrounding a particular question of interest. The essays and presentations should be rooted in the recommended readings for the class as well as other (referenced) sources which students might have perused. There will be three sessions of presentations during the semester and students will be asked to present their essays during those sessions.
Final written examination: The final examination consists of a number of open questions which students have to discuss by (critically) using the material covered in class. In case of failure, the resit examination mark replaces the final examination mark and therefore counts for 50% of the grade
The readings will be taken from a variety of sources available at the university library, online or on Canvas.
If you're looking for a good introduction to law and economics, we would recommend Robert Cooter and Thomas Ulen, Law and Economics (Sixth Edition, 2007). It is available online for free here: http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/books/2/ We will be referring to this book on occasion.