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SOSC 2330: Political Economy of Law, Policy and Organization Take Home Mid Term Exam Fall 2014

Due date: October 27, 2014 in class (2:30 pm in our lecture theatre). No late exams will be accepted.

Weight: 15% of final grade.

Exam format: This exam must be submitted both as a printed hard copy, and via our course moodle website (this will permit for Turnitin submission). Any exams not submitted both in person and via Turnitin will not be graded. The hard copy should be typed in 12 point font and double-spaced.


1) Please answer each question as clearly and precisely as possible, respecting the word

limit indicated.

2) You should make reference to the course readings (using proper citation formatting) and may also refer to tutorial and lecture materials.

3) With the exception of question 2 in Part A, where you may conduct internet research, the only internet resources you should use when answering the following questions are the readings posted on the course website. A complete list of acceptable materials can be found on page three of this document.

4) Any exam found violating York’s policy on Academic Misconduct shall receive a grade of 0 and may be subject to formal disciplinary action.


Part A (4 short answer questions – 15% each)

Each of the following questions contains multiple components. A complete answer must respond to all of these components. Each answer should be 250 words in length. Answers must be written in complete sentences and paragraphs. DO NOT use point form.

1) Briefly outline what is meant by homo economicus. With reference to the ideas of Adam Smith and to “Markets and Ethical Values,” explain how homo economicus might also be an ethical and social individual.

2) Coase, in his famous essay “The Problem of Social Cost” (1960), introduces the notion of reciprocal harm. With direct reference to the text explain what Coase means by this idea. Provide at least one contemporary Canadian example where the notion of


SOSC 2330: Political Economy of Law, Policy and Organization Take Home Mid Term Exam Fall 2014

reciprocal harm might be applied. Research is permitted for the second part of this question (the contemporary Canadian example). Be sure that your sources are credible and that you reference them properly.

3) In his essay “Institutional Economics and Race / LatCrit Theory” Charles Pouncy argues that

the neoclassical paradigm has a decidedly limited ability to address issues of racism because of its analytical focus on methodological individualism. Methodological individualism assumes that the individual is an appropriate unit of analysis and examination. Therefore, the neoclassical paradigm understands economic behavior by aggregating the activity of individuals. All social activity is understood by reference to individual motivation and economic rationality. (Pouncy, 847)

With reference to Pouncy and Medema & Mercuro’s text, explain how institutionalist economics attempts to remedy this purportedly limited view of economic and social reality. Give at least one contemporary example of racism that might be better understood from an institutionalist perspective.

4) Both Galbraith and Hanson & Yosifon present positions that challenge the mainstream assumptions held by scholars of the economics of law. List two ways in which the texts challenge neoclassical assumptions about the individual and the nature of market forces.

Part B (Mini essay – 40%)

Please answer the following essay question as completely as possible within the word limit. Be sure to reference specific texts and thinkers, defining concepts when necessary. This response should be approximately 750 words in length. Answers must be written in complete sentences and paragraphs. DO NOT use point form.


Ian Ward’s “Law and the Political Economy” explores many of the early connections between law and economics in the modern European tradition. In essay format, please compare and contrast John Locke and Karl Marx’s understanding of the connection between law and economics. In order to substantiate your response, you should clearly articulate the underlying assumptions that each philosopher held about property, the nature of society and human freedom. Be sure to cite Ward’s text in your response.



SOSC 2330: Political Economy of Law, Policy and Organization Take Home Mid Term Exam Fall 2014

List of Acceptable Resources

This is a list of all texts studied in this class thus far (listed in order of appearance). These are the only relevant texts for use in this examination, with the exception of research conducted for question A 2. The texts listed below can all be found on the course moodle website.

1) Ward, Ian. “Law and the Political Economy”

2) Cohen, Daniel. “Introduction” and “Gross Domestic Happiness”

3) Rhoads, Steven. “Government and the Economy”

4) Dutt, Amitava Krishna and Charles K. Wiber. “Markets and Ethical Values”

5) Coase, Ronald. “The Problem of Social Cost”

6) Cooter, Robert and Daniel Rubinfield. “Economic Analysis of Legal Disputes and Their Resolution”

7) Medema, S. G., and Mercuro, N. “Institutional Law and Economics”

8) Pouncy, Charles. “Institutional Economics and Critical Race/Lat.Crit Theory: The Need for a Critical ‘Raced’ Economics”

9) Galbraith, J.K. “Economics as a System of Belief”

10) Hanson, Jon and Yosifon, David. “Brief Introduction to the Situational Character” and “Brief Introduction to Power Economics”

11) Kennedy, Duncan. “Law and Economics from the Perspective of Critical Legal Studies”