ECON 229 Fall 2014 Law and Economics (Q)

This course applies the tools of microeconomic analysis to private (i.e., civil) law. This analysis has both positive and normative aspects. The positive aspects deal with how individuals respond to the incentives created by the legal system. Examples include: how intellectual property law encourages the creation of knowledge while simultaneously restricting the dissemination of intellectual property; how tort law motivates doctors to avoid malpractice suits; and how contract law facilitates agreements. The normative aspects of the analysis ask whether legal rules enhance economic efficiency (or, more broadly, social welfare). Examples include: what legal rules are most appropriate for mitigating pollution, ensuring safe driving, and guaranteeing workplace safety? The course will also cover the economics of legal systems; for example, what are the incentives for plaintiffs to initiate lawsuits and what role do lawyers play in determining outcomes. The course will also consider potential reforms of the legal system. In the 2014-15 academic year, the course will place more emphasis on intellectual property law as part of the campus-wide initiative, "The Book Unbound," associated with the opening of the new library.
Class Format: lecture/discussion
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on class participation, problem sets, short papers based on actual court cases and possible legal reforms, a midterm exam, and a final exam
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Prerequisites: ECON 110
Enrollment Preference: Open; prefer a mix of student backgrounds
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Divisional Attributes: Division II,Quantitative and Formal Reasoning
Other Attributes: ENVP PE-A Group Electives,ENVP PE-B Group Electives,ENVP PTL-A Group Electives,ENVP SC-A Group Electives,JLST Enactment/Applications in Institutions,POEC U.S. Political Economy + Public Policy Course
Enrollment Limit: 35
Expected Enrollment: 25
Class Number: 1462
ECON 229 - 01 (F) LEC Law and Economics (Q) Division 2: Social StudiesQuantitative and Formal Reasoning William M. Gentry
MR 1:10 PM-2:25 PM Griffin 6 1462
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