Spring 2022 - ECON 427W D100

Industrial Organization: Law and Economics (3)

Class Number: 3953

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 8:30 AM – 9:20 AM
    WMC 2533, Burnaby

    Th 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    WMC 2533, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 22, 2022
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    RCB 5120, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    ECON 201 or 301, and ECON (or BUEC) 333 or ECON 302, all with a minimum grade of C-.



An in depth examination of the application of economic reasoning to the law. The course considers how legal relationships influence behavior and how economic models can explain the structure of the law. A selected number of topics will be covered, and may include the economic approach to common law; property rights; contracts; torts; criminal behavior; family law; and corporate bankruptcy law. Students with credit for BUEC 427 or BUEC 495 may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


“Law and Economics” is a generic name given to a field of study that began at the University of Chicago Law School in the 1930s. The flagship journal, Journal of Law and Economics, was started in 1958 by Aaron Director and published Coase’s famous paper in 1960. An outsider, looking through the journal over the past fifty years might be surprised at the small number of articles that directly deal with an economic analysis of the law. From the beginning, “law and economics” has always been broader than a narrow focus on the law. In light of this, this course might better be called “Law, Economics, and Organization.” The course begins with a general discussion of economic reasoning and the concept of efficiency. It then examines the Coase Theorem in considerable detail. After these introductory foundations, we move on to cover topics organized by legal categories: property, contracts, family, and crime. These topics should take the entire semester. If time permits we may briefly cover such topics as anti-trust, torts, or public enforcement. 

I will expect you to work through this book on your own, and there will be an in class quiz based on the book in the third week of class. This is a “W” course, which means there is a serious reading and writing component. Students will complete (almost) weekly writing assignments, (almost) weekly re-writing assignments, as well as a term paper which will be handed in over three stages. Participation in weekly discussions is mandatory and graded every week, which means doing the assigned reading is also mandatory. Each student will be expected participate in every class. The term paper is due on the last day of class, April 16, with no exceptions. The paper must be original to you, and must deal with some aspect of Law and Economics that you find puzzling. The first draft of the paper is due February 11, and should only contain your introduction which explains what your observation is and why it is economically puzzling. The second draft of the paper is due March 4. It will contain your reworked introduction along with your theory of the observation in question. The third draft is due April 1. It will contain a reworked introductory and theory sections along with at least one comparative static exercise. Then you get one more chance to rewrite your paper and hand in the final draft on April 16. There is no page limit (upper or lower) to the paper and you will be graded on your originality, economic reasoning, and writing quality. There is only one exam (the final). It will contain short answer questions only, and will be based on applications of the readings and discussions in class.


  • Participation 20%
  • Weekly Written Assignments 20%
  • Grammar Quiz 5%
  • Term Paper, First Draft 5%
  • Term Paper, Second Draft 5%
  • Term Paper, Third Draft 5%
  • Term Paper, Final Draft 15%
  • Final Exam 25%



There is no economic text for this course. Many of the readings (and others) are on an old course webpage located at http://www.sfu.ca/ allen/buec 427.html If not there, all of the readings are available through the electronic journals link on the SFU library webpage. There is, however, a required grammar text, The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. This old and wonderful book is available for free at http://www.jlakes.org/ch/web/The-elements-of-style.pdf. I will expect you to work through this book on your own, and there will be an in class quiz based on the book in the third week of class. 

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Please note that, as per Policy T20.01, the course requirements (and grading scheme) outlined here are subject to change up until the end of the first week of classes.

Final exam schedules will be released during the second month of classes. If your course has a final exam, please ensure that you are available during the entire final exam period until you receive confirmation of your exam dates. 

Students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability must contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) at 778-782-3112 or caladmin@sfu.ca.


Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.