Over the inter-semester break this year I was privileged to take a course in ‘Law and Economics’ with the University of Stockholm. This course explained the emergence of a modern approach to analysing law and policy through an economic lens, starting around the 1960s with Ronald Coase’s ‘The Problem of Social Cost’. Over two weeks, the course moved through firstly the theory of Law and Economics, then its practical effects, and finally, critical approaches to the study. I did not have a lot of experience in economics before going into this class, and doing Global Studies and Law degrees I have found most of my time focussed on other areas. Therefore, taking this course was an excellent intersection between my degree with the University of Auckland, and a broader interest in the global economy which I was able to expand on. I was grateful to have taken Economics 151 as my Gen Ed, as a number of other students were actually doing their masters in economics but did not have much legal experience – the total opposite of myself and many others.
The course built upon both economic and legal frameworks very adeptly, and so it was fantastic to see students who had totally different educational backgrounds building common ground. Not only did the participants have different educational experiences, but of the almost thirty of us, I would estimate we were Zooming from 12-15 different countries. While most of the course was taught as standard lectures, one particular highlight was playing a game in which we were put into breakout rooms and essentially had to outwit the other teams by running an ‘oil cartel’ – like the classic Prisoners Dilemma.
I highly enjoyed working with the other participants during this game and meeting people in all different time zones, employing our diplomacy skills and (when that failed) all-out Zoom warfare and bribery. Each week we had three two-hour classes – for me these were at 9 – 11pm (yes, in the evening!) and at 7 – 9pm. In these classes we covered a lot of ground, and although they were in the evenings I found that this actually gave me enough time to enjoy my break at the same time as learning new content.
The course was taught in a relaxed manner, and our lecturer, Daniel, was kind, knowledgeable, and flexible with what we wanted to focus on and take away from the course. Moreover, the structure was clear and logical. As our assessment, Daniel allowed us to submit a 2000 word essay on anything we wanted to, relating to Law and Economics. I highly enjoyed researching my project on New Zealand’s trade of yoghurt grown by inmates in their prison cells, and the economic and political implications of this market.
Ultimately, I enjoyed this course and despite COVID-19, I am grateful to have experienced a foreign University. I would love to work with the University of Stockholm again and I would recommend them, and 360 International, to current and future students.