Course Description


Swedloff, Harvey

LE = 16

Special Note: If enrollment is fourteen or fewer, course may be offered at the professor’s discretion as a three-credit writing course in which a paper is required in lieu of a final examination.

Courts increasingly look to economics to help analyze legal issues. In a variety of legal domains – including civil procedure, contracts, torts, criminal law, and intellectual property – courts have made (and will make) assumptions about how individuals will respond to incentives, choices, and risks to help guide their rulings. In this class we will look at the foundations of these underlying assumptions and at the ways that courts use economics to craft their decisions. We will also look at a number of critiques of economic theory and consider – in light of those critiques – whether and how much we can learn from economics.

There is no need to have a formal background in economics to take this class. I anticipate that students will bring diverse backgrounds to the material. This class will be run as a seminar, with evaluation based on a series of writing assignments and class participation.