• Offered by Research School of Economics
  • ANU College ANU College of Business and Economics
  • Course subject Economics
  • Areas of interest Economics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Mark Harrison
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2014
    See Future Offerings

Law and Economics applies the concepts and techniques of microeconomics to the law itself, focusing on the common law: the dominant source of legal rules in Australia. The course does not assume any prior legal knowledge, nor does it provide any legal training.

The Course employs basic price theory – rational maximization, the law of demand, opportunity costs, and the idea that voluntary exchange allows resources to gravitate toward their highest- valued uses – to predict the consequences of legal rules: how they affect the behaviour of individuals and groups; and uses welfare economics to evaluate legal rules, especially their efficiency effects. Legal issues examined in the course include property rights, tort law, contract law, criminal law, law enforcement and punishment, litigation and settlement, principal-agent liability, and regulation v tort law as ways to control externalities.

The emphasis in this course is on “thinking like an economist” to understand legal issues from an economic perspective, with a focus on a clear understanding of the logic and underlying economic intuition rather than just the results.

Law and Economics is designed for both economics and law students. For economics students, it is an interesting application of the economic way of thinking to real world problems and policy issues. Examining actual legal cases gives students experience in relating abstract economic models to practical problems and demonstrates their direct relevance.

For law students, Judge Richard Posner (one of the founders of law and economics) explains the benefits of law and economics well: “The law is divided into numerous fields, each of which has a complex structure of rules. The fields are traditionally studied in isolation from one another, and within each field the rules tend also to be studied as a separate, often self-enclosed bodies of thought. Yet it turns out that a relative handful of economic doctrines – such as decision under uncertainty, transactions costs, cost benefit analysis, risk aversion, and positive and negative externalities – can, by repeated application across fields of law and legal rules, describe a great deal of the legal system and enable the student to develop a more coherent sense of the system – to grasp the relation of its parts and understand its essential unity.”

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements for this course, students should have the knowledge and skills to:
• Recognise the economic issues in a legal problem and apply the economic way of thinking to analyse it.
• Assess the efficiency effects of legal rules and policies

Other Information

See the course outline on the College courses page. Outlines are uploaded as they become available. 

Indicative Assessment

Two 1-hour in-term examinations, and a 3-hour final examination.

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Workload

Two lectures and one tutorial per week.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed ECON1101 Microeconomics 1 or ECON1100 Economics 1 (H)

Prescribed Texts

A. Mitchell Polinsky 2011, An Introduction to Law and Economics, 4th Edition

Preliminary Reading

Friedman, D (2000) Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why it Matters,http://www.davidfriedman.com/Laws_Order_draft/laws_order_ToC.htm

Fees

Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
3
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

Units EFTSL
6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $2922
2004 $3234
2005 $3234
2006 $3240
2007 $3240
2008 $3240
2009 $3240
2010 $3240
2011 $3240
2012 $3240
2013 $3240
2014 $3246
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $2922
2004 $3234
2005 $3234
2006 $3288
2007 $3426
2008 $3426
2009 $3426
2010 $3750
2011 $3756
2012 $3756
2013 $3756
2014 $3762
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
5027 17 Feb 2014 07 Mar 2014 31 Mar 2014 30 May 2014 In Person N/A

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