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University of Exeter Business School

Law and Economics

Module titleLaw and Economics
Module codeBEE3019
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Surajeet Chakravarty (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module is planned to introduce you to law and legal institutions. The course will study the economic analysis of law. The focus will be on civil law however a few lectures will examine economic aspects of criminal law. A particular feature is the major topic on intellectual property rights. This is a relatively new area of economics and should be of topical relevance. Environmental damage is often caused by accidents for instance in the BP Deep-water Horizon oil-spill. There will be a topic on tort. This is the relevant part of law, which aims to provide incentive to correct externalities associated with accidents and environmental damage. Other topics to be studied include contract law, corporate law and governance.

The intended audience is third year students on economics degrees. The course is not intended for non-specialists.

Additional Information:


An appropriate legal framework can help to resolve many environmental problems. A prime example being the tragedy of the commons.


Many of our students’ jobs will involve law. Thus, understanding of the economic aspects of law will help employability.

Ethics and Corporate Responsibility:

Appropriate design of company law will encourage ethical behaviour in the corporate world.

Research in Teaching:

The course will be informed by research in law and economics.

The assessment structure on this module is subject to review and may change before the start of the new academic year. Any changes will be clearly communicated to you before the start of term and if you wish to change module because of this you can do so in the module change window.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module aims to enable you to understand key topics in the economic analysis of law. These include law of property, tort law, contract law, deterrence of crime and intellectual property rights. The course will develop skills such as problem solving and essay writing.

It is complementary with the research interests of the economics department, which specialises in risk and uncertainty.  It will draw on the research expertise of faculty, especially Dr Chakravarty who has a doctorate in the area.

The course is relevant for employment since law is now an important aspect of many careers.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. recognise what has been popularly studied in the area of Law and Economics
  • 2. identify those key terms and concepts in Law and Economics, which lead to an understanding of legal issues and institutions.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. analyse and compare microeconomics with legal issues and institutions

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. deliver coherent argument in written work, including coherent arguments for complex issues involving economic analysis of legal issues such as property rights, liability or contracts.
  • 5. demonstrate analytical and critical thinking

Syllabus plan

  • Property Rights - The Coase theorem, the tragedy of the commons
  • Intellectual Property Rights: Patents, copyright, and trade secrets
  • Corporate Law and Governance
  • Tort Law - Strict Liability, Negligence, Unilateral versus Bilateral accidents, Risk aversion and insurance
  • Contract Law
  • Behavioural Law and Economics
  • Health, Safety and Environmental Risks

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching22Lectures (11 x 2 hour)
Scheduled Learning & Teaching5Seminars (5 x 1 hour)
Guided independent study123Reading, problem solving and essay preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Problem Sheets2 hours1-5Discussions in class

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay302000 words1-5Written
Examination702 hours1-5Notes on ELE

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (30%) (2000 words)1-5July/August re-assessment period
ExaminationExam (70%) (2 hours)1-5August examination period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you have been deferred for any assessment you will be expected to submit the relevant assessment. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be expected to submit the relevant assessment. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 40%

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Cooter and Ulen, (2012), Law and Economics, (6th edition), Pearson.
  • Posner, R., (2011), Economic Analysis of Law, (8th edition), Wolters Kluwer.
  • Shavell, Economic Analysis of Accident Law, Harvard, 1987.

Key words search

Law, economics, liability, property rights, corporate law

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BEE2025 OR BEE2038

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date