Behavioural Law and Economics

Subject LAWS70381 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

May, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment: Not available




Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:


For more information, contact the Melbourne Law Masters office.

Email or phone +61 3 8344 6190.

Alternatively, visit our website:

Subject Overview:

Behavioural law and economics has taken increased importance after the financial crisis. Governments and administrators in the United States and Europe have been considering behavioural economics in addressing its implications in the areas of health, finance, media, law and politics. This subject, led by one of the most influential and widely published scholars in this field in recent years, will consider the policy implications of behavioural economics, with emphasis in the areas of competition law, consumer protection and media law. Students will be guided in thinking through the relevance of these implications for Australian law and policy in these fields, in particular.

Principal topics will include:

  • Background of Behavioural Law and Economics (BLE)
  • Application of BLE to political and media markets
  • Application of BLE to marketing and the poor
  • Application of BLE to competition law
  • Insights of BLE to social and market motivations and the tragedy of the commons
  • The role of the government and libertarian paternalism
  • Subjective well-being, happiness and public policy.

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Have an advanced understanding of the developments of behavioural economics, and how the findings contrast with neoclassical economic theory;
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the potential policy implications of behavioural economics across a range of areas of law and regulation; and
  • Critically assess the role of government if individuals make mistakes or have self-control problems that make them act against their own well-being.

Class participation (10%)

9,000 word research paper (90%) (30 August) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

Prescribed Texts:

Core subject materials will be provided free of charge to all students. Some subjects require further texts to be purchased. Visit the Melbourne Law Masters website for more information about this subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:

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