The essay must be in Docx format (Microsoft Word) with font size 11 or 12, and not more than 1,500 words in length (excluding references). The paper size must be A4, not US Letter. All essays will automatically be run through the Turnitin plagiarism checker.

Please answer one question from the two questions on the following page.

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Before you start planning your essay, carefully read the Guidelines for Writing an Economics Essay: Basics and Rules. This contains essential information about the rules and how your essay will be graded.

Question 1
Do patents encourage innovation? If yes, is it always desirable? If no, what are their economic implications?

Suggested Reading:

Cooter and Ulen: relevant chapters

Boldrin, M. and D. K. Levine (2013), “The Case Against Patents,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 27(1), 3-33.

Hall, B. (2007), “Patents and Patent Policy,” Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 23(4), 568-587.

Lemley, M. A. (2004) “Ex Ante versus Ex Post Justifications for Intellectual Property,” University of Chicago Law Review, 71(1), 129-139.

Question 2
Under what circumstances would rational parties deliberately choose to leave terms of a contract unspecified? How should the court respond to such contractual incompleteness?

Suggested Reading:

Cooter and Ulen: relevant chapters

Schwartz, A. and R. E. Scott (2003), “Contract Theory and the Limits of Contract Law,” Yale Law Journal, 113 (3), 541-619.

Bernstein, L. (1992), “Opting out of the Legal System: Extralegal Contractual Relations in the Diamond Industry,” Journal of Legal Studies, 21(1), 115-157.


I failed my first report because the writer wrote an essay that fails (spectacularly!) to demonstrate learning in the course. With very little economics there, while the class kept talking about economic theory. So if you need anything like my class powerpoints, please contact me so that I can send you my class materials. Please be reminded that this is an Economic essay, not a law essay.


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