ECON 229
Law and Economics Fall 2024
Division II Quantitative/Formal Reasoning

Class Details

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 Class: Format: seminar; discussion
Limit: 35
Expected: 20
Class#: 1902
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, problem sets, paper based on actual court cases, a midterm exam, and a final exam
Prerequisites: ECON 110
Enrollment Preferences: ECON and POEC majors (and potential majors) will receive priority if the course is overenrolled
Distributions: Division II Quantitative/Formal Reasoning
QFR Notes: This course uses economic models to explore the logic of legal concepts. While some arguments will be qualitative, students will also use numerical examples to illustrate the principles of the course.
Attributes: JLST Interdepartmental Electives
POEC Depth

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