Game Theoretic Analysis of the Law

This course recaps equilibrium concepts from Game Theory and applies these to the economic analysis of legal institutions, such as laws or contracts. The positive analysis derives the impact of such institutions on the behavior of human actors ("equilibrium"). The normative analysis evaluates the legal alternatives under scrutiny by comparing the welfare consequences of the resulting equilibria.  

Participants will be able to understand the reciprocal nature of conflicting interests in the ue of resources and the relevance of transaction costs for the resolution of such conflicts. Students will deepen their understanding ofbasic game theoretical models, and become familiar with their applications to civil law, penal law, litigation, administrative law, intellectual property rights, international trade, or consumer protection.


  • The origins of property rights: Anarchy game and Nash equilibrium.
  • The Coase theorem, transaction cost, and Nash bargaining.
  • Protection of property rights: property rules and liability rules.
  • Litigation and imperfect enforcement: sequential equilibrium und mixed strategies.  
  • Consumer protection and product liability.
  • Intellectual property rights.


Documents & course organization:


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