Law & Economics


The course introduces the students to the field of law and economics. Part I describes critically the main concepts and introduces the students to the most promising contemporary approaches. Part II focuses on the significance of several economic concepts in a variety of legal contexts.

This course is unique in its approach to the discipline of law and economics. The purpose of the course is two-fold. First, it equips students to critically engage with economic analysis. Second, it teaches students to identify economic problems that the law addresses in a variety of different contexts.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Fabrizio Esposito


Weekly - 3

Total - 36

Teaching language



Not Applicable


*Cooter, Robert andUlen, Thomas, Law & Economics, 6.ª edição (Berkeley Law Books: 2016) -

*Devlin, Alan, Fundamental Principles of Law and Economics (Routledge: 2015)

*Faure, Michael, and Partain, Roy, Environmental Law and Economics: Theory and Practice (CUP: 2019)

*Friedman, David D., Law's Order (Princeton University Press, 2000) -

*Esposito, Fabrizio and Cserne, Peter (eds.), Economics in Legal Reasoning (Palgrave: 2020)

*Esposito, Fabrizio, The Consumer Welfare Hypothesis in Law and Economics (Edward Elgar: 2022) 

*Farnsworth, Ward, The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking about the Law (University of Chicago Press: 2007)

*Feldman, Yuval, The Law of Good People (Cambridge University Press: 2018) - chapter 1 available here:

*Kwak, James, Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality (MIT Press: 2017)

*Shavell, Steven, Foundations of Economic Analysis of Law (Harvard University Press: 2004) -

Additional materials are indicated or posted on Moodle.

Teaching method

A mix of theoretical lectures and individual and group reflections in class and on Moodle.

Evaluation method

Final exam

The final exam will consist of two questions - one theoretical and one practical - on the content of the lectures.


Continuous evaluation: 50%

The grade can only complement that of the final exam

  • Attendance: 50% ensures 10 in the continuous evaluation, 75% 12, 90% 13
  • Class participation: active discussion and engagement, including on Moodle 
  • Individual assignment: Apply any of the notions studied in class to an existing legal framework. Examples include: explain how a certain provision avoids a tragedy of the commons; criticize a certain provision from a behavioural ethics perspective; explain why the central proposal of Radical Markets is legally too alien; reject a claim as a form of economism

Subject matter

1 Introduction

Part I: Basic ideas

2 Foundational concepts

3 Efficiency and the law: the basic ideas

4 Different approaches

5 Enforcement

6 Efficiency, distribution and the law: a long-lasting dilemma

Part II: Transactions and the Legal-Economics Nexus

7 Transaction costs and the law I: Without externalities

8 Transaction costs and the law II: With externalities

9 Bargaining power and theories of harm


Programs where the course is taught: