Law and Economics (LAWS5147)


The aim of the unit of study is to provide an understanding of the economic analysis of law and to clarify fundamental differences between legal argument and the analysis of public policy. The unit defines the role of government within the framework of welfare economics and examines the social and economic effects of legal regimes within that framework. Particular attention is given to the concept of a competitive market, to the available empirical evidence on market failure, and to the need for government intervention in response to market failure and its negative consequences for social justice. Topics covered include: theoretical concepts of social justice, social insurance; monopoly and environmental regulation; economics of property and contract law; labour law and bargaining power; tort rights and remedies; asymmetric information, adverse selection and moral hazard with applications to medical malpractice; agency, corporate governance and bankruptcy; family law; taxation; and the measurement of inequality.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


2 x 2hr seminars/week for 10 weeks


2 x 1000wd essays on a set problem (30%), class participation and presentation (10%) and 2hr exam (60%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


LAWS3036 or LAWS3447

Additional Information

This unit satisfies the Jurisprudence/Part 3 requirement of the JD.

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.