Course Details

Economic Analysis of Law

This course focuses on familiarizing students with the economic approach to analyzing the operation and effectiveness of law. The economic approach views the law as a set of tools to be used to achieve socially desirable outcomes and looks at participants in the legal system as strategic agents who respond to incentives. The major goal of the course is to leave students with the ability to "think like an economist", that is to be able to analyze legal doctrine using the theoretical and empirical approaches accepted by economists. Economic analysis is not limited to aspects of the law that deal directly with monetary or business problems. In fact, this course will survey the application of economic analysis to most of the areas of law that make up the first year curriculum. We begin with a brief introduction to welfare analysis-the primary theory that economists use to compare the desirability of various policy outcomes. Our study of substantive law starts with applying an economic approach to property, contracts and tort law. We will then turn towards public law, with a brief study of the economics of crime, and the application of game theory and economics of civil procedure. We end with a brief economic analysis of law and income distribution. Students will be required to complete problem sets, which consist of applying economic analysis to hypothetical fact patterns, as well as working out numerical examples. These will not require mathematics beyond basic arithmetic. Study of economics is not a prerequisite.

Catalog Number: LAWSTUDY 631L
Practice Areas: Law and Social SciencePerspective viewpoint
Additional Course Information: Business Concentration Elective,  Open to First Year Students,  Perspective Elective


Course History

Spring 2019
Title: Economic Analysis of Law
Faculty: Friedman, Ezra (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 70     Actual: 12

Spring 2018
Title: Economic Analysis of Law
Faculty: Friedman, Ezra (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 59     Actual: 20

Spring 2017
Title: Economic Analysis of Law
Faculty: Friedman, Ezra (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 59     Actual: 34

Spring 2016
Title: Economic Analysis of Law
Faculty: Friedman, Ezra (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 65     Actual: 28