Economics of Private Law

Credit Hours: 2

After a brief review of the methodology of law and economics, this course utilizes the standard tools of economic analysis for the study of private law and legal institutions, with special emphasis on property, torts and contracts. The course builds upon the coherent first-year curriculum offered at GMU Law School. Students will develop a coherent framework for an economic explanation of legal rules: a framework that can be easily built upon in other courses for an economic analysis of other areas of the law. The first part of the seminar reviews some of the basic concepts of economic analysis, including the following: (i) Coase theorem; (ii) models of market failure; (iii) uncertainty and risk-aversion; (iv) strategic behavior and basic game theory; and (v) collective decision-making and public choice theory. The second part of the seminar applies the above tools to the study of private law and legal institutions with special focus on: (i) emergence of law and models of legal evolution; (ii) sources of law; (iii) selected topics in property, contract and tort law.