Course - Law


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This course introduces the economic approach to human behavior (or, for the self-interested student, the economic approach to life).  Economics is the study of allocation of scarce means to satisfy competing ends.  Laws are mostly about the allocations of resources (rights), re-allocations (transactions or governmental/private takings), and resolutions of disputes over resources.  In this course, we will explore human motivations, such as wealth maximization, ego, and altruism; examine what kind of laws a benevolent decision-maker should have in place; and study the question of what legislators and judges actually maximize.
The course will introduce basic economic, game-theory and behavioral concepts that are useful for everyday life and for legal thinking.  These concepts will be applied in several basic legal fields, including property, torts, contracts, and criminal law.

Steven Shavell, Foundations Economic Analysis of Law (2004) and materials that will be posted on the course forum.

Course Format


Written Assignments


Type of Exam

Short essays. Open books.

Basis for grading

100% exam

Additional Comments

No background in economics is needed. This course complements the course “Fundamentals of Regulation” that is focused on state and private mechanisms that are used to shape human behavior and business conduct.  The courses are independent of each other and each one can be taken individually.

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