ECO 350K • Law and Economics
This course introduces you to economic analysis of law. The course will focus on the common law areas of property, contracts, and tort as well as the legal process and criminal law. Finally, we will spend some time discussing the goals of economic analysis of law. Economic analysis of law analyzes legal rules with one main question in mind: how will people and firms respond to a given legal rule? That is, rather than look at the inherent "fairness" or "justness" of a legal rule, law and economics focuses on the incentives that a legal rule creates. The normative aspect of law and economics then asks how legal rules should be structured to create the most desirable incentives. Some of the questions that we will address in this course include: "What is the optimal level of pollution and what should the government do to achieve this level of pollution?"; "Should the law ever interfere with voluntary contracts between two adults?"; "How should medical malpractice be controlled?"; "What is the best way to control and punish crime?"; "Is there too much litigation?"; and "Is there a role for fairness in designing optimal legal rules?"