Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Legal History

Jurisprudence

2004

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Virtues Of Uncertainty In Law: An Experimental Approach, Tom Baker, Alon Harel, Tamar Kugler Jan 2004

The Virtues Of Uncertainty In Law: An Experimental Approach, Tom Baker, Alon Harel, Tamar Kugler

All Faculty Scholarship

Predictability in civil and criminal sanctions is generally understood as desirable. Conversely, unpredictability is condemned as a violation of the rule of law. This paper explores predictability in sanctioning from the point of view of efficiency. It is argued that, given a constant expected sanction, deterrence is increased when either the size of the sanction or the probability that it will be imposed is uncertain. This conclusion follows from earlier findings in behavioral decision research and the results of an experiment conducted specifically to examine this hypothesis. The findings suggest that, within an efficiency framework, there are virtues to uncertainty …