Law and Markets LAW5175
- Academic Session: 2020-21
- School: School of Law
- Credits: 20
- Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
- Typically Offered: Semester 2
- Available to Visiting Students: No
- Available to Erasmus Students: No
Lawyers can no longer afford to ignore economics. Be it in debates over how to regulate global finance, the governance of global trade, attempts to redesign international investment law, or developments in the fields of human rights and constitutional law, legal analysis will encounter the market and competing conceptions of the role that the markets should play in society.
Current accounts of how markets work are grounded in economic theory. Students who are keen to work in fields such as finance, regulation, policy making, and social justice-either as legal practitioners, policy makers, NGO advocates, or as academics-will require an understanding of markets in order to develop successful careers. By exposing students to some of the main developments, concepts, and thinkers that have informed contemporary economic thought and practice, this course will enable Law students to approach the analysis of markets and economic issues with greater confidence. It is not an Economics course, however. Rather, the course aims to foster students' understanding of the economy, its place in society, and the central role that law plays in constituting and regulating markets. The course will introduce students to how different economic schools and critical legal traditions think about core concepts in markets such as property, firms, efficiency and market failures. This inter-disciplinary approach to market activity will help students better understand current economic policy debates and explore how they, as lawyers, might contribute to those debates.
Seminars will be structured around key readings that explore the operations of markets from competing perspectives. Through their engagement with these texts, and via active participation in class debates, students will develop their critical thinking skills, and they will enhance their ability to develop oral and written arguments.
10 x 2 hour seminars in semester 2.
The first assessment (30%) consists of Book/Article Review of 1500 words words on a topic set by the Course Convenor. The second (70%) consists of an essay of no more than 3500 words on a research topic determined by the student in consultation with the Course Convenor.
The course aims to give students the opportunity to explore in detail some of the arguments (core ideas) that underpin the approach of mainstream economic theory to markets. This approach has been shaping how policy makers and regulators approach the governance of the market economy for the past 40 years. The course prompts students to think critically about the role that law can play in the definition of markets and, thus, about how they, as lawyers, might contribute to current policy and regulatory debates. The course aims to contrast the perspectives of mainstream economy theory with those of institutionalist economists, political economists, and critical legal scholars.
Intended Learning Outcomes of Course
By the end of the course students should be able to:
1. Summarise how mainstream economics (the 'orthodox' account) understands how markets work and how it understands the role of law in a market economy
2. Critically analyse the orthodox account of the market by using conceptual frameworks developed by institutional economics, political economy, and critical legal theory.
3. Compare how orthodox economists and institutional economists understand key concepts that are central to market activity such as 'property', 'firm', 'regulation' and 'market failure' with the perspectives of political economists and critical legal scholars.
4. Critically analyse the role that law plays in constituting and regulating markets.
5. Explore the significance of the theoretical frameworks discussed in the course to the analysis of different markets by means of case studies.
Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits
Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.