Deals: The Economic Structure of Transactions and Contracting
This course has served as a model for law schools nationwide. Bringing together students from the Columbia Law and Business Schools, it analyzes contract documents involved in a variety of business transactions in an effort to learn more about patterns of contractual governance. The course has both positive and normative goals, teaching students about patterns that have emerged with respect to different types of transactions and, perhaps more importantly, how parties may more effectively govern their relations. Students are introduced to the economic tools necessary to evaluate alternative contractual regimes, and then apply those tools to real transactions. The course is comprised of two parts: The first part is designed to introduce students to the economic tools necessary to evaluate alternative contractual regimes, including transaction costs, information economics, risk sharing and incentives, property rights, and finance. Students also work through some of the existing empirical work on contracting regimes. The second part applies the tools developed in the first part, culminating in group projects that consider different real world transactions, with the particular transactions selected to give the students a range of subject matters in order to highlight a common set of problems that arises in multiple settings.