January 14, 2007
Lambert on Intro to Business Organizations
Posted by Victor Fleischer

Thom Lambert has a great post describing how he introduces Hayek and Coase on his first class day of teaching Business Organizations.  Check it out.  In my Deals class, it's the sort of knowledge that I sometimes mistakenly assume that students have learned somewhere before (such as in Biz Org), but haven't. 

Thom asks what other folks do for the first class.  In Deals, I usually start the class with a simple, stylized sale of a coffeeshop, split the class into seller's counsel and buyer's counsel, and ask them to identify what they think are the important issues.  They usually do a good job of identifying problems of asymmetric information, strategic behavior and other barriers to contracting, which allows me to transition into a lecture on Coase, transaction costs, and Gilson's model of the lawyer as transaction-cost-engineer. 

Deals can be intimidating to those without any business background, and I find that starting with an exercise is (1) a nice ice-breaker, (2) shows them that they already know more than they think they know, and (3) allows me to ease into the theory slowly and with concrete examples that they came up with. 

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