Law 165 - Behavioral Law and Economics

Russell Korobkin

Russell Korobkin

Vice Dean for Graduate and Professional Education
Richard C. Maxwell Professor of Law
B.A. Stanford, 1989
J.D. Stanford, 1994
UCLA Faculty Since 2000
Course Description:

“Law and Economics” analysis is normatively committed to using legal policy to promote the efficient production and allocation of resources and consequently the maximization of social welfare. In order use law to promote efficiency, analysts must make assumptions about how actors will respond to the incentives created by legal rules. For this purpose, “traditional” Law and Economics analysis borrows from microeconomics a set of assumptions often described as “rational choice theory,” which supposes that actors can and do maximize the pursuit of their subjective utility or their self-interest when responding to incentives that law creates. “Behavioral” Law and Economics relies on a large and growing body social science research that indicates individual behavior often fails to conform with the assumptions of rational choice theory. Real people, it turns out, use a variety of mental heuristics, or rules of thumb, when they attempt to understand the world, determine their preferences, and choose their behaviors.

Scholarship in the field of "Behavioral Law and Economics" attempts to identify what legal policy choices are most efficient given this richer, more realistic, but also more complicated understanding of human behavior.  Looking at issues in several substantive fields of law, this "Law Through Scholarship" course will introduce students to the methodological approach of Behavioral Law and Economics and how it differs from traditional Law and Economics.  For most of the class meetings, readings will include one article written by the instructor and one article written by a different scholar.  

Course Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

1.  Identify the core goals and assumptions of "Law and Economics" and "Behavioral Law and Economics" scholarship.

2.  View a range of issues in areas of substantive law, legal theory, and legal practice through the lens of the Behavioral Law and Economics approach. 

3.  Understand how legal scholarship can provide different types of insight than judicial opinions into difficult legal issues.    

Course Information:
​Faculty Term Course Section ​Schedule ​Units Requisite Satisfies SAW
Russell Korobkin 21S 165 LEC 7 W 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM 1.0 No No
  Class will meet on 1/27, 2/10, 2/24, 3/10, 3/31, 4/14.