Property and Liability: An Introduction to Law and Economics

开始时间: 02/03/2014 持续时间: 6 weeks

所在平台: Coursera

课程类别: 经济与金融

大学或机构: Wesleyan University(卫斯理大学)

授课老师: Richard Adelstein



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One of the most interesting and important developments in social science since 1970 has been the "discovery" of a consistent economic logic underlying the great common law subjects of property, contract, tort and crime, the thousand-year-old bedrock of the English and American legal systems. Property and contract provide the institutional scaffolding that makes free exchange in markets possible, while the liability systems of tort and crime appear to mimic market exchange in areas of human activity where free exchange itself, for well-defined reasons, is not possible. This course seeks to expose this underlying economic logic through the close investigation of a series of paradigmatic problems and examples in light of some simple but very powerful economic ideas. The course assumes no prior background in economics or law, and begins with an introduction to the basic concepts of property, exchange, efficiency and externality. On this foundation, specific topics in the law, including property, tort and crime, eminent domain, intellectual property and criminal procedure, are considered. Each group of lectures will elaborate on a different concrete problem or example to suggest the range of legal issues and questions to which economic reasoning can be productively applied. The ideas and modes of analysis developed in the course are not difficult or mysterious, but the questions of interpretation and policy that they raise about a subject that affects everyone are challenging and provocative.


Part I: Property   (5 lectures, March 18 - March 24)

What is Property? An Infinity of Rights; Creating Property; A Neighborly Dispute; "It Doesn't Matter Who Wins"

Homework I due Monday, March 25 at 8 a.m.

Part II: Exchange and Efficiency   (5 lectures, March 25 - March 31)

The Coase Theorem; Posner's Corollary; Stacks of Flax; A Hundred LeRoys; Owning History

Homework II due Monday, April 1 at 8 a.m.

Part III: Externality   (6 lectures, April 1 - April 7)

Externality; Markets for Goods; Markets for Bads; Liability; Pigou and Voltaire; Internal Policing

Homework III due Monday, April 8 at 8 a.m.

Part IV: Crime and Punishment   (8 lectures, April 8 - April 14)

Retribution and Deterrence; Torts; The Costs of Crimes; Organized Vengeance; Efficient Crimes; One Crime at a Time; Pricing Crimes; A Certain Kind of Justice

Homework IV due Monday, April 15 at 8 a.m.

Part V: Property, Utility and Technology   (8 lectures, April 15 - April 21)

Property and Police; Erasing the Bright Red Line; Locke and Bentham, Even Now; The Competition of Technologies; Intellectual Goods; Locks and Keys; A Peculiar Property Right; The New Fair Use

Homework V due Monday, April 22 at 8 a.m.

Part VI: Criminal Procedure   (7 lectures, April 22 - April 28)

The Disappearing Trial; Plea Bargaining; A Prisoner's Dilemma; "An Essential Component;" The Virtues of Candor; Two Kinds of Systems; European Plea Bargains?

Homework VI due Monday, April 29 at 8 a.m.





Think about the oldest and most familiar principles of American law, property and proportional liability, in a new and surprising way, and learn to apply economic reasoning to an especially important and interesting aspect of life.





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