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Spring 2021 Reading Group

Law, Economics and Psychology: Selected Topics

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam

The law aims to control, guide, or facilitate many aspects of human behavior. To achieve these goals legal policymakers should benefit from an accurate account of how people make decisions. One leading account is the rational choice model of neoclassical economics. We will review the important contributions made by traditional economic analysis of law based on the rational choice model. Psychologists and behavioral economists are challenging the dominant rational choice account, arguing that in many circumstances the standard model fails to provide a satisfactory account of human decision-making. As a result, a new model is emerging – a model informed by a more nuanced understanding of decision-making. We will explore the implications of this new model for legal policy. Topics will include law enforcement, pre-trial settlement negotiations, contract law, and antidiscrimination law.

Note: This reading group will meet on the following dates: 1/25, 2/1, 2/8, 2/15, 2/22 and 3/1.