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Economic Analysis of Law

Vasquez Duque, O. (TA)
Polinsky, A. (PI)
Sheeler, P. (GP)
Section Number
(Same as LAW 7502.) This course will provide a broad overview of the scholarly field known as "law and economics." The focus will be on how legal rules and institutions can correct market failures. We will discuss the economic function of contracts and, when contracts fail or are not feasible, the role of legal remedies to resolve disputes. We will also discuss at some length the choice between encouraging private parties to initiate legal actions to correct externalities and governmental actors, such as regulatory authorities. Extensive attention will be given to the economics of litigation, and to how private incentives to bring lawsuits differs from the social value of litigation. The economic motive to commit crimes, and the optimal governmental response to crime, will be studied in depth. Specific topics within the preceding broad themes include: the Coase Theorem; the tradeoff between the certainty and severity of punishment; the choice between ex ante and ex post sanctions; negligence versus strict liability; property rules; remedies for breach of contract; and the American rule versus the English rule for allocating litigation costs. Because this course is taught jointly with Law 7502 in the Law School, it will not be mathematically oriented; there are no prerequisites to take the course.
Letter (ABCD/NP)
Academic Career
Course Tags
Law and the Legal System
Academic Year
Section Days
Tuesday Thursday
Start Time
2:15 PM
End Time
3:45 PM
LAW 185