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
2023 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Laws and legal institutions in society serve many purposes. Maby most importantly, the presence of laws and legal institutions lay the ground for the use of legal sanctions. That is, laws and legal institutions ensure that certain actions can be sanctioned in a predicable way and that bilateral agreements (contracts) can be enforced. A key question that arises with respects to legal sanctions is how and to what extent they affects behavior.

The field of economics provides a theory to predict behavior. Specifically, economic theory predicts how behavior responds to changes in costs and benefits associated with actions. Consequently, economic theory is well suited to study how legal sanctions affect behavior.

This course will introduce students to the concept of economic analyses of law. Students will be introduced to fundamental concepts in economics and learn to apply them to various topics in law including property law, tort law, tort law, contract law, legal processes, and criminal law.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

Upon completion of the course students will

  1. know basic concepts in microeconomic theory and game theory
  2. understand the economic consequence of property rights
  3. know how different forms of liability affects behavior
  4. understand how contracts are used to reach mutually beneficial agreements
  5. understand the economic consequences of the details of the legal process and why some private disputes are resolved in court
  6. understand the economic implications of crime and punishment
Learning outcomes - Skills
  1. Conduct basic microeconomic analyses of supply and demand, and solve simple games
  2. Be able to recognize and identify the incentives created by a legal framework
  3. Be able to recognize and identify the incentives created by a contract and suggest ways in which contracts can be improved
  4. Apply economic theory to compute damages
  5. Compare different legal alternatives in terms of efficiency
  6. Conduct economic analyses of legal processes
General Competence

Students will be able to critically assess weaknesses and strengths of laws, legal systems, and contracts by applying economic theory. 

Course content
  • Microeconomic theory
  • Economic analysis of:
    • Property law
    • Tort law and liability
    • Contracts and contract law
    • The legal process
    • Criminal law
Teaching and learning activities

The course will mostly be taught trough classroom lectures. When suitable, the course will also make use of other teaching methods such as group and classroom discussions, quizzes, and classroom experiments.

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.


Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
Support materials: 
  • BI-approved exam calculator
  • Simple calculator
3 Hour(s)
Exam code: 
GRA 62961
Grading scale: 
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
100 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.