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Coursera - Property and Liability: An Introduction to Law and Economics (MP4)

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Coursera - Property and Liability: An Introduction to Law and Economics (MP4)

Coursera - Property and Liability: An Introduction to Law and Economics
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Property and Liability: An Introduction to Law and Economics

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.

About the Course

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.

Course Syllabus

Part I: Property (5 lectures, February 3 - February 9)

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

Quiz I due Monday, February 10 at 8 a.m.

Part II: Exchange and Efficiency (5 lectures, February 10 - February 16)

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

Quiz II due Monday, February 17 at 8 a.m.

Part III: Externality (6 lectures, February 17 - February 23)

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

Quiz III due Monday, February 24 at 8 a.m.

Part IV: Crime and Punishment (8 lectures, February 24 - March 2)

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

Quiz IV due Monday, March 3 at 8 a.m.

Part V: Property, Utility and Technology (8 lectures, March 3 - March 9)

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

Quiz V due Monday, March 10 at 8 a.m.

Part VI: Criminal Procedure (7 lectures, March 10 - March 16)

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

Quiz VI due Monday, March 17 at 8 a.m.

The due dates above are suggested, but not required. Quizzes will be accepted without penalty until Monday, March 31, 2014. The course will close on that date, and no quizzes will be accepted after 8 a.m. on Monday, March 31.

Recommended Background

No background is required; all are welcome!

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Tags: Coursera, Property, Liability, Introduction, Economics


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