Professor Todd Zywicki 
School of Law
George Mason University
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 993-8091
tzywicki@gmu.edu
Professor Peter Boettke
Department of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 993-1149
pboettke@gmu.edu

FALL 1999
Monday 7:20-10:00pm
Arlington Campus

THE LEGAL FOUNDATIONS FOR A FREE-SOCIETY(1)

The purpose of this course is to explore first how the Western conception of the rule of law emerged and became established, and then to explore how Western prosperity through the industrial revolution and open international trade became established. Our intent is then to explore the connection between these two core concepts in the Western tradition of political and economic liberty and finally to examine the "exportability" of these ideas to non-Western countries and the former Soviet-type economies.

COURSE SCHEDULE

August 30

Week 1: WHY THE RULE OF LAW?

Boettke and Zywicki - introduction to the course

Reading: 

Ronald Coase, The Firm, the Market, and the Law. Chicago, 1988, 1-31.

Barry Weingast, "The Political Foundations of Democracy and the Rule of Law," American Political Science Review, 91 (2) 1997: 245-263.

Nicholas Mercuro and Steven Medema, Economics and the Law. Princeton, 1997, 130-156.

September 6 NO CLASS - LABOR DAY

September 13

Week 2: POLYCENTRISIM AND THE CUSTOMARY FOUNDATIONS OF LAW

Zywicki

Reading: 

Harold Berman, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. Harvard University Press, 1983, 520-558.

Bruce Benson, The Enterprise of Law. Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1990, 11-83.

Barnett, The Structure of Liberty: Justice and the Rule of Law. Oxford, 1998, 1-26; 41-83; 301-328.

Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty. Chicago, 1973, 1-54; 94-144.

September 20

Week 3: Guest Lecture - The Rise of the West

David S. Landes, Harvard University (invitation)

Reading:

David Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. Norton, 1998.

Douglass C. North and Robert Paul Thomas, The Rise of the Western World: A New Economic History. Cambridge, 1973.

Douglass C. North and Barry Weingast, "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," Journal of Economic History, 49 (4) December 1989, 803-832.

September 27

Week 4: MAX WEBER AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Boettke

Reading: 

Nathan Rosenberg and L. E. Birdzell, How the West Grew Rich: The Economic Transformation of the Industrial World. Basic Books, 1986, 3-36; 113-143.

Weber, General Economic History. Transaction, 1995[1927], 352-369.

Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Charles Scribners, 1958 [1904-05], 13-31; 47-78.

Max Swedberg, Max Weber and the Idea of Economic Sociology. Princeton, 1998, 7-21; 54-107.

October 4

Week 5: CULTURAL AND INSTITUTIONAL PRE-CONDITIONS FOR PROSPERITY

Boettke

Readings: 

Joel Mokyr, Levers of Riches. Oxford, 1990, 151-192.

David Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. Norton, 1998, 3-44; 512-524.

Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel. Norton, 1997, 13-32; 405-425.

October 13 (Monday classes meet on Wednesday this week)

Week 6: Guest Lecture - Politics, Law, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development

Joel Mokyr, Northwestern (invited)

Reading: 

Joel Mokyr, The Levers of Riches. Oxford, 1990.

October 18

Week 7: CIVIL SOCIETY AND DEMOCRACY

Zywicki

Readings: 

Robert Puttnam, Making Democracy Work. Princeton, 1993, 3-16; 163-185.

Ernest Gellner, The Conditions of Liberty. Penguin, 1994.

Frances Fukuyama, Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity, Free Press, 1995, 3-57.

October 25

Week 8: CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE MARKET

Zywicki

Readings: 

Daniel Klein, ed., Reputation. University of Michigan, 1997, 1-14; 29-46.

Matt Ridley, The Origins of Virtue.Penguin, 1996, 37-66; 127-147; 249-265.

Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation. Basic Books, 1984, 3-24; 145-191.

Paul Milgrom, Douglass North, and Barry Weingast, "The Role of Institutions in the Revival of Trade: The Law Merchant, Private Judges and the Champagne Fairs," Economics & Politics, 2 (March 1990): 1-23.

November 1

Week 9: Guest Lecture - Social Capital, Civil Society and the Moral Order

Michael Novak, AEI (confirmed).

Reading: 

Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

November 8

Week 10: CONSTITUTIONALISM AND THE REASON OF RULES

Boettke

Readings: 

F. A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty. Chicago, 1960, 133-249.

James Buchanan and Geoffrey Brennan, The Reason of Rules, Cambridge, 1985,

James Buchanan and Roger Congelton, Politics by Principle, Not Interest. Cambridge, 1998, 3-41; 147-153.

Richard Epstein, Simple Rules for a Complex World. Harvard, 1995, 1-49.

Barry Weingast, "The Economic Role of Political Institutions: Market-Preserving Federalism and Economic Development," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization (April 1995): 1-31.

November 15

Week 11: CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTRAINTS AND ECONOMIC REGULATION

Zywicki

Readings: 

George Stigler, ed., Chicago Studies in Political Economy. Chicago, 1988, 3-84; 209-233.

James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock and Robert Tollison, ed., Toward a Theory of the Rent-Seeking Society. Texas A&M University Press, 1980, 39-50; 211-221.

Richard Epstein, Takings. Harvard University Press, 1985, 3-31; 93-104; 263-282.

Barry Weingast, "Constitutions as Governance Structures: The Political Foundations of Secure Markets," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics 149 (1) 1993, 286-311.

November 22

Week 12: WHY SOCIALISM AND UNCONSTRAINED DEMOCRACY VIOLATE THE RULE OF LAW

Boettke & Zywicki

Readings: 

F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom. Chicago, 1944, 56-100; 134-152..

James Buchanan, The Limits of Liberty. Chicago, 1975.

Ludwig von Mises, "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Common-wealth." In F. A. Hayek, ed., Collectivist Economic Planning. Routledge, 1935[1920], 87-130.

November 29

Week 13: Guest Lecture -The Structure of Liberty

Randy Barnett, Boston University (confirmed).

Reading: 

Randy Barnett, The Structure of Liberty. Oxford, 1999.

December 6

Week 14: WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED FROM THE EMERGING MARKET ECONOMIES?

Boettke

Readings: 

Peter Boettke, "Credibility, Commitment and Soviet Economic Reform," in Edward Lazear, ed., Economic Transition in Eastern Europe and Russia:Realities of Reform (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1995): 247-275.

Peter Boettke, "Promises Made and Promises Broken in the Russian Transition," Constitutional Political Economy, 9, no. 2 (1998): 127-136.

Peter Boettke, "The Russian Crisis: Perils and Prospects for Post-Soviet Transition," American Journal of Economics & Sociology (July 1999)

Robert Cooter, "The Rule of State Law and the Rule-of-Law State: Economic Analysis of the Legal Foundations of Development," Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics (1996): 191-217.

Ugo Mattei, Comparative Law and Economics. University of Michigan Press, 1997, 201-222.

Paul Rubin, Promises, Promises: Contracts in Russia and Other Post-Communist Economies. Aldershot: Edward Elgar Publishing, 1997.

Andrei Shleifer, "Government in Transition," European Economic Review 41 (1997): 385-410.

December 13 (No in-class final)

Week 15: Guest Lecture - Russia and the problem of Growing a Rule of Law

Richard Pipes, Harvard University (invited).

Reading: 

Richard Pipes, Property and Freedom. Knopf, 1999.

COURSE FORMAT

Students are expected to have read the recommended reading before class and to have familiarized themselves with the basic thesis of the works listed in association with the guest lectures so as to maximize the benefits from the visit of these distinguished scholars. A set of readings and the books of the guest lecturers will be available at both the Law School library in Arlington, and Fenwick Library at the main campus in Fairfax.

During regular class meetings either Professor Boettke or Professor Zywicki will give the primary lecture, with the other professor commenting on the lecture or topic in general. The normal class procedure will be for the lecture to go 50 minutes to 1 hour, short break, comment from the other professor for 10 to 20 minutes, and then open discussion on the topic and readings for the remaining time of the class.

The format for the guest lectures will be a 1 hour public lecture from our guest speaker, followed by an open question and answer period of up to a half hour. This will be followed by a short informal reception for the speaker and members of our class so that you will have the opportunity to speak more directly with our guests.

COURSE GRADE


Grades for this course will be determined on the basis of five commentaries dealing with the relationship of the readings to the guest lecture, and a term paper. The five commentaries will be worth 20 points each, and the term paper will be worth 100 points. The commentaries should be no more than 6 to 8 double-spaced typed pages and will be due the next class meeting after the guest lecture, except for the final commentary which will be due by Friday December 17th. Term papers are to be attempts to make a substantive contribution to the literature in comparative law and economics, and are to conform to the style of a professional journal in the field of law and economics. You should choose your topic by the end of September in consultation with either Professor Boettke or Professor Zywicki.

1. This course is cross-listed in economics as: ECON 676 - COMPARATIVE ECONOMIC SYSTEMS: Exploring the relationship between the rule of law and economic prosperity. Graduate students in disciplines other than law and economics are also welcomed to take the course for credit. Guest lectures will be public lectures open to the university community.