Heterodox Law & Economics

Heterodox Law & Economics

Course Objectives
This course has two objectives: (1) to learn something about different approaches to combining law and economics and the relevance of this strand of methodology; (2) to see if this kind of approach is useful for developing your research projects.

Introductory remarks
The idea behind the title of this course is that there is a certain paradigm that motivates most law & economics (L&E) scholarship. This dominant paradigm represents that which is orthodox. In the first few seminars we look at that scholarship which is representative of the orthodox approach and we ask three questions: (1) what is the orthodox paradigm and what does it achieve? (2) Why is it successful? (3) What are its weaknesses?  Having established these matters, we next move to consider a range of alternative approaches to doing L&E. Insofar as this is possible we will discuss an application of each approach to L&E, so we can see how the insights can be applied to understand certain legal fields.

Your tasks

  1. Before each seminar, please send in a reaction paragraph to the wordpress website for this course, preferably 24 hours before the seminar so everyone has a chance to read your thoughts.
  2. During each seminar, please participate actively; discussion is based on the texts I have selected which I expect you to have read.
  3. For the final seminar each of you will be asked to prepare a presentation on how your research could be carried out by applying an economic approach. The idea is to test how far the sorts of economic approaches reviewed in the course might (or might not) work. The purpose of this exercise is twofold: first to dispel the view that only those with several degrees in economics and ‘do’ law and economics, second (and perhaps in contrast to the first) to test how far this approach to legal analysis is worthwhile for you.

Background Reading
This is just a selection of some accessible texts for starters:

Veljanovski The Economics of Law 2nd ed (IEA, 2006) free to download at: http://www.casecon.com/data/pdfs/IEAeconlaw.pdf
Ogus Costs and Cautionary Tales (Hart, 2006)
Posner Economic Analysis of Law (any edition) chapters 1 and 2

Seminar materials

Seminar 1: Richard Posner and Gary Becker

Seminar 2: Ronald Coase and Guido Calabresi

Seminar 3: Oliver Williamson

Seminar 4: Comparative Law and Economics

Seminar 5: The Legal Origns Debate

Seminar 6: Welfare, efficiency and fairness

Seminar 7: Behavioural Law and Economics

Link to seminar materials


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