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BLR

2019

Conflict of Laws

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Law Matters -- Less Than We Thought, Daniel M. Klerman, Holger Spamann Aug 2019

Law Matters -- Less Than We Thought, Daniel M. Klerman, Holger Spamann

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

In a pre-registered 2×2×2 factorial between-subject randomized lab experiment with 61 federal judges, we test if the law influences judicial decisions, if it does so more under a rule than under a standard, and how its influence compares to that of legally irrelevant sympathies. The judges were given realistic materials and a relatively long period of time (50 minutes) to decide a run-of-the-mill auto accident case. We find weak evidence for the law effect, stronger evidence that rules constrain more than standards, and no evidence of a sympathy effect. Unexpectedly, we find that judges were more likely to ...