GRA 6296 Economic Analysis of Topics in Law

GRA 6296 Economic Analysis of Topics in Law

Course code: 
GRA 6296
Course coordinator: 
Henrik Sigstad
Course name in Norwegian: 
Economic Analysis of Topics in Law
Product category: 
MSc in Law and Business
2024 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

How should contracts be optimally designed? What is a good litigation strategy? How should you do business in countries with dysfunctional courts? What is the economic rationale behind our existing legal rules?

In this course, you will learn to use economic theory to analyze a business case involving legal institutions. We will analyze how firms can best adapt to the legal environment and how markets are affected by legal institutions. We will also use economic theory to explain why our legal rules exist. Economic analysis is a powerful tool to understand and interpret the law and can be used to formulate convincing legal arguments.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

Upon completion of the course, students will be familiar with the basic theoretical ideas used in the field of law and economics: Economic efficiency, the Coase theorem, bargaining theory, and game theory. The students will also acquire basic knowledge about contract law, tort law, criminal law, and legal procedures.

Learning outcomes - Skills

Upon completing the course, students should be able to conduct an economic analysis of a legal rule: How a firm can best adapt to the legal rule, how other actors in the market are expected to respond, and which consequences the legal rule has for economic efficiency. Finally, the students should be able to explain how the legal rule could be interpreted and understood in light of economic theory.

General Competence

Students should obtain a solid understanding of the economic analysis of law, be comfortable with applied microeconomic analysis, and be able to think systematically about the economic effects of legal rules.

Course content
  • Contracts. How can we design effective contracts? How can you do business in countries where contracts are difficult to enforce? How can economic analysis help us to understand contract law?
  • White-collar crimes. How does the legal system affect incentives to commit crimes such as tax evasion, money laundering, fraud, and corruption? How can companies avoid being involved in crimes? What is the economic rationale behind criminal law?
  • Tort law. When should you sue? How much are you entitled to in damages? How can tort law be explained by economic theory?
  • The legal process. Is it too expensive to file a lawsuit? When should you settle? How do rules governing the legal process shape actors' incentives to comply with laws and contracts? What is the economic rationale behind our procedural rules?
Teaching and learning activities

The course will consist of interactive lectures, group discussions, and problem-solving in groups. Three out of five assignments must be approved in order to sit for the exam.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.

All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have specific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.


Mandatory courseworkCourseworks givenCourseworks requiredComment coursework
Mandatory53 Assignments
Mandatory coursework:
Mandatory coursework:Mandatory
Courseworks given:5
Courseworks required:3
Comment coursework: Assignments
Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
Support materials: 
  • All printed and handwritten support materials
  • BI-approved exam calculator
  • Simple calculator
  • Bilingual dictionary
3 Hour(s)
Exam code: 
GRA 62961
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
Student workload
36 Hour(s)
Prepare for teaching
24 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
50 Hour(s)
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.