ECON 229
Law and Economics Fall 2014
Division II Quantative/Formal Reasoning
This is not the current course catalog

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 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.
The Class: Format: lecture/discussion
Limit: 35
Expected: 25
Class#: 1462
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
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
Prerequisites: ECON 110
Enrollment Preferences: Open; prefer a mix of student backgrounds
Distributions: Division II Quantative/Formal Reasoning
Attributes: ENVP PE-A Group Electives
ENVP PE-B Group Electives
ENVP PTL-A Group Electives
ENVP SC-A Group Electives
POEC U.S. Political Economy + Public Policy Course

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