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Full-Text Articles in Law

Police Frisks, David S. Abrams, Hanming Fang, Priyanka Goonetilleke May 2022

Police Frisks, David S. Abrams, Hanming Fang, Priyanka Goonetilleke

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The standard economic model of police stops implies that the contraband hit rate should rise when the number of stops falls, ceteris paribus. We provide empirical corroboration of such optimizing models of police behavior by examining changes in stops and frisks around two extraordinary events of 2020 - the pandemic onset and the nationwide protests following the killing of George Floyd. We find that hit rates from pedestrian and vehicle stops generally rose as stops and frisks fell dramatically. Using detailed data, we are able to rule out a number of alternative explanations, including changes in street population, crime, police …


Third Party Moral Hazard And The Problem Of Insurance Externalities, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman Jan 2022

Third Party Moral Hazard And The Problem Of Insurance Externalities, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman

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Insurance can lead to loss or claim-creation not just by insureds themselves, but also by uninsured third parties. These externalities—which we term “third party moral hazard”—arise because insurance creates opportunities both to extract rents and to recover for otherwise unrecoverable losses. Using examples from health, automobile, kidnap, and liability insurance, we demonstrate that the phenomenon is widespread and important, and that the downsides of insurance are greater than previously believed. We explain the economic, social and psychological reasons for this phenomenon, and propose policy responses. Contract-based methods that are traditionally used to control first-party moral hazard can be welfare-reducing in …


Corporate Law For Good People, Yuval Feldman, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2021

Corporate Law For Good People, Yuval Feldman, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky

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This article offers a novel analysis of the field of corporate governance by viewing it through the lens of behavioral ethics. It calls for both shifting the focus of corporate governance to a new set of loci of potential corporate wrongdoing and adding new tools to the corporate governance arsenal. The behavioral ethics scholarship emphasizes the large share of wrongdoing generated by "good people" whose intention is to act ethically. Their wrongdoing stems from "bounded ethicality" -- various cognitive and motivational processes that lead to biased decisions that seem legitimate. In the legal domain, corporate law provides the most fertile …


The Paradox Of Insurance, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman Mar 2020

The Paradox Of Insurance, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman

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In this Article, we uncover a paradoxical phenomenon that has hitherto largely escaped the attention of legal scholars and economists, yet it has far-reaching implications for insurance law: loss-creation by uninsured parties caused by the presence of insurance. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, we show that insurance can create significant negative externalities by inducing third parties to engage in antisocial, illegal and unethical activities in order to extract money from insureds or insurers. Moreover, as the amount and scope of insurance grows, so does its distortionary effect on third parties. We term this phenomenon the paradox of insurance. The risk …


Spillover Effects In Police Use Of Force, Justin E. Holz, Roman G. Rivera, Bocar A. Ba Dec 2019

Spillover Effects In Police Use Of Force, Justin E. Holz, Roman G. Rivera, Bocar A. Ba

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We study the link between officer injuries-on-duty and the force-use of their peers using a network of officers who, through a random lottery, began the police academy together. We find that peer injuries-on-duty increase the probability of using force by 7%. The effect is concentrated in a narrow time window near the event and is not associated with significantly lower injury risk to the officer. Complaints of improper searches and failure to provide service also increase after peer injuries, suggesting that the increase in force might be driven by heightened risk aversion.


The Effect Of Police Oversight On Crime And Allegations Of Misconduct: Evidence From Chicago, Bocar A. Ba, Roman G. Rivera Oct 2019

The Effect Of Police Oversight On Crime And Allegations Of Misconduct: Evidence From Chicago, Bocar A. Ba, Roman G. Rivera

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Does policing the police increase crime? We avoid simultaneity effects of increased public oversight during a major scandal by identifying events in Chicago that only impacted officers’ self-imposed monitoring. We estimate crime’s response to self- and public-monitoring using regression discontinuity and generalized synthetic control methods. Self-monitoring, triggered by police union memos, significantly reduced serious complaints without impacting crime or effort. However, after a scandal, both civilian complaints and crime rates rise, suggesting that higher crime rates following heightened oversight results from de-policing and civilian behavior simultaneously changing. Our research suggests that proactive internal accountability improves police-community relations without increasing crime.


In-Group Bias And The Police: Evidence From Award Nominations, Nayoung Rim, Roman G. Rivera, Bocar A. Ba Oct 2019

In-Group Bias And The Police: Evidence From Award Nominations, Nayoung Rim, Roman G. Rivera, Bocar A. Ba

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This paper examines the impact of in-group bias on the internal dynamics of a police department. Prior studies have documented racial bias in policing, but little is known about bias against officers due to lack of available data. We construct a novel panel dataset of Chicago Police Department officers, with detailed information on officer characteristics and work productivity. Exploiting quasi-random variation in supervisor assignment, we find that white supervisors are less likely to nominate black officers than white or Hispanic officers. We find weaker evidence that male supervisors are less likely to nominate female officers than male officers. We explore …


Choice Architecture For Healthier Insurance Choices: Ordering And Partitioning Can Improve Decisions, Benedict G.C. Dellaert, Eric J. Johnson, Tom Baker Jul 2019

Choice Architecture For Healthier Insurance Choices: Ordering And Partitioning Can Improve Decisions, Benedict G.C. Dellaert, Eric J. Johnson, Tom Baker

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Health insurance decisions are a challenge for many consumers and influence welfare, health outcomes, and longevity. Two choice architecture tools are examined that can improve these decisions: informed ordering of options (from best to worst) and choice set partitioning. It is hypothesized that these tools can improve choices by changing: (1) decision focus: the options in a set on which consumers focus their attention, and (2) decision strategy: how consumers integrate the different attributes that make up the options. The first experiment focuses on the mediating role of the hypothesized decision processes on consumer decision outcomes. The outcome results are …


The Impact Of The Durbin Amendment On Banks, Merchants, And Consumers, Vladimir Mukharlyamov, Natasha Sarin Jan 2019

The Impact Of The Durbin Amendment On Banks, Merchants, And Consumers, Vladimir Mukharlyamov, Natasha Sarin

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After the Great Recession, new regulatory interventions were introduced to protect consumers and reduce the costs of financial products. Some voiced concern that direct price regulation was unlikely to help consumers, because banks offset losses in one domain by increasing the prices that they charge consumers for other products. This paper studies this issue using the Durbin Amendment, which decreased the interchange fees that banks are allowed to charge merchants for processing debit transactions. Merchant interchange fees, previously averaging 2 percent of transaction value, were capped at $0.22, decreasing bank revenue by $6.5 billion annually. The objective of Durbin was …


The Behavioral Economics Of Multilevel Marketing, Heidi H. Liu Jan 2018

The Behavioral Economics Of Multilevel Marketing, Heidi H. Liu

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Multilevel marketing companies (MLMs) - sales organizations that compensate independent consultants based on the sales and recruitment of other consultants - form a significant part of the American economy. Yet, MLMs provide little information to regulators and potential participants regarding potentially material information. Although MLMs are often compared to pyramid schemes, consultants argue that participation in a MLM allows them to make money outside of the traditional full-time labor force. This paper examines the law, economics, and psychology of MLMs, suggesting that MLMs may draw on prospective consultants' cognitive biases in persuading consultants to join and continue a MLM. Consultants …


The Inevitability And Ubiquity Of Cycling In All Feasible Legal Regimes: A Formal Proof, Leo Katz, Alvaro Sandroni Jun 2017

The Inevitability And Ubiquity Of Cycling In All Feasible Legal Regimes: A Formal Proof, Leo Katz, Alvaro Sandroni

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Intransitive choices, or cycling, are generally held to be the mark of irrationality. When a set of rules engenders such choices, it is usually held to be irrational and in need of reform. In this article, we prove a series of theorems, demonstrating that all feasible legal regimes are going to be rife with cycling. Our first result, the legal cycling theorem, shows that unless a legal system meets some extremely restrictive conditions, it will lead to cycling. The discussion that follows, along with our second result, the combination theorem, shows exactly why these conditions are almost impossible to meet. …


The Perverse Consequences Of Disclosing Standard Terms, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan Jan 2017

The Perverse Consequences Of Disclosing Standard Terms, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

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Although assent is the doctrinal and theoretical hallmark of contract, its relevance for form contracts has been drastically undermined by the overwhelming evidence that no one reads standard terms. Until now, most political and academic discussions of this phenomenon have acknowledged the truth of universally unread contracts, but have assumed that even unread terms are at best potentially helpful, and at worst harmless. This Article makes the empirical case that unread terms are not a neutral part of American commerce; instead, the mere fact of fine print inhibits reasonable challenges to unfair deals. The experimental study reported here tests the …


Contract Consideration And Behavior, David A. Hoffman, Zev. J. Eigen Jan 2017

Contract Consideration And Behavior, David A. Hoffman, Zev. J. Eigen

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Contract recitals are ubiquitous. Yet, we have a thin understanding of how individuals behave with respect to these doctrinally important relics. Most jurists follow Lon Fuller in concluding that when read, contract recitals accomplish their purpose: to caution against inconsiderate contractual obligation. Notwithstanding the foundational role that this assumption has played in doctrinal and theoretical debates, it has not been tested. This Article offers what we believe to be the first experimental evidence of the effects of formal recitals of contract obligation — and, importantly too, disclaimers of contractual obligation — on individual behavior. In a series of online experiments, …


The Knowledge Gap In Workplace Retirement Investing And The Role Of Professional Advisors, Jill E. Fisch, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, Kristin Firth Jan 2016

The Knowledge Gap In Workplace Retirement Investing And The Role Of Professional Advisors, Jill E. Fisch, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, Kristin Firth

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The dramatic shift from traditional pension plans to participant-directed 401(k) plans has increased the decision-making responsibility of individual investors for their own retirement planning. With this shift comes increasing evidence that investors are making poor decisions in choosing how much to save for retirement and in selecting among their investment options. Studies question the value of efforts to improve these decisions through regulatory reforms or investor education.

This article posits that deficiencies in workplace retirement savings cannot be adequately addressed until the reasons for poor investment decisions are better understood. We report the results of a study designed to simulate …


Everything’S Bigger In Texas: Except The Medmal Settlements, Tom Baker, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick Jan 2016

Everything’S Bigger In Texas: Except The Medmal Settlements, Tom Baker, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick

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Recent work using Texas closed claim data finds that physicians are rarely required to use personal assets in medical malpractice settlements even when plaintiffs secure judgments above the physician's insurance limits. In equilibrium, this should lead physicians to purchase less insurance. Qualitative research on the behavior of plaintiffs suggests that there is a norm under which plaintiffs agree not to pursue personal assets as long as defendants are not grossly underinsured. This norm operates as a soft constraint on physicians. All other things equal, while physicians want to lower their coverage, they do not want to violate the norm and …


From Promise To Form: How Contracting Online Changes Consumers, David A. Hoffman Jan 2016

From Promise To Form: How Contracting Online Changes Consumers, David A. Hoffman

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I hypothesize that different experiences with online contracting have led some consumers to see contracts—both online and offline—in distinctive ways. Experimenting on a large, nationally representative sample, this paper provides evidence of age-based and experience-based differences in views of consumer contract formation and breach. I show that younger subjects who have entered into more online contracts are likelier than older ones to think that contracts can be formed online, that digital contracts are legitimate while oral contracts are not, and that contract law is unforgiving of breach.

I argue that such individual differences in views of contract formation and enforceability …


Discounting And Criminals' Implied Risk Preferences, Murat C. Mungan, Jonathan Klick Jan 2015

Discounting And Criminals' Implied Risk Preferences, Murat C. Mungan, Jonathan Klick

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It is commonly assumed that potential offenders are more responsive to increases in the certainty than increases in the severity of punishment. An important implication of this assumption within the Beckerian law enforcement model is that criminals are risk-seeking. This note adds to existing literature by showing that offenders who discount future monetary benefits can be more responsive to the certainty rather than the severity of punishment, even when they are risk averse, and even when their disutility from imprisonment rises proportionally (or more than proportionally) with the length of the sentence.


The Common Sense Of Contract Formation, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, David A. Hoffman Jan 2015

The Common Sense Of Contract Formation, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, David A. Hoffman

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What parties know and think they know about contract law affects their obligations under the law and their intuitive obligations toward one another. Drawing on a series of new experimental questionnaire studies, this Article makes two contributions.First, it lays out what information and beliefs ordinary individuals have about how to form contracts with one another. We find that the colloquial understanding of contract law is almost entirely focused on formalization rather than actual assent, though the modern doctrine of contract formation takes the opposite stance. The second Part of the Article tries to get at whether this misunderstanding matters. Is …


A Psychological Account Of Consent To Fine Print, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan May 2014

A Psychological Account Of Consent To Fine Print, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

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The moral and social norms that bear on contracts of adhesion suggest a deep ambivalence. Contracts are perceived as serious moral obligations, and yet they must be taken lightly or everyday commerce would be impossible. Most people see consent to boilerplate as less meaningful than consent to negotiated terms, but they nonetheless would hold consumers strictly liable for both. This Essay aims to unpack the beliefs, preferences, assumptions, and biases that constitute our assessments of assent to boilerplate. Research suggests that misgivings about procedural defects in consumer contracting weigh heavily on judgments of contract formation, but play almost no role …


Demand For Breach, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan Apr 2014

Demand For Breach, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

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These studies elicit behavioral evidence for how people weigh monetary and non-monetary incentives in efficient breach. Study 1 is an experimental game designed to capture the salient features of the efficient breach decision. Subjects in a behavioral lab were offered different amounts of money to break the deal they had made with a partner. 18.6% of participants indicated willingness to break a deal for any amount of profit, 27.9% were unwilling to breach for the highest payout, and the remaining subjects identified a break-point in between. Study 2 is an online questionnaire asking subjects to take the perspectives of buyers …


Distributional Consequences Of Public Policies: An Example From The Management Of Urban Vehicular Travel, Winston Harrington, Elena Safirova, Conrad Coleman, Sébastien Houde, Adam M. Finkel Mar 2014

Distributional Consequences Of Public Policies: An Example From The Management Of Urban Vehicular Travel, Winston Harrington, Elena Safirova, Conrad Coleman, Sébastien Houde, Adam M. Finkel

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This paper uses a spatially disaggregated computable general equilibrium model of a large US metropolitan area to compare two kinds of policies, “Live Near Your Work” and taxation of vehicular travel, that have been proposed to help further the aims of “smart growth.” Ordinarily, policy comparisons of this sort focus on the net benefits of the two policies; that is, the total monetized net welfare gains or losses to all citizens. While the aggregate net benefits are certainly important, in this analysis we also disaggregate these benefits along two important dimensions: income and location within the metropolitan area. The resulting …


Rethinking Summary Judgment Empirics: The Life Of The Parties, Jonah B. Gelbach Jan 2014

Rethinking Summary Judgment Empirics: The Life Of The Parties, Jonah B. Gelbach

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No abstract provided.


Can The Dark Arts Of The Dismal Science Shed Light On The Empirical Reality Of Civil Procedure?, Jonah B. Gelbach Jan 2014

Can The Dark Arts Of The Dismal Science Shed Light On The Empirical Reality Of Civil Procedure?, Jonah B. Gelbach

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Litigation involves human beings, who are likely to be motivated to pursue their interests as they understand them. Empirical civil procedure researchers must take this fact seriously if we are to adequately characterize the effects of policy changes. To make this point concrete, I first step outside the realm of civil procedure and illustrate the importance of accounting for human agency in empirical research. I use the canonical problem of demand estimation in economics to show how what I call the “urn approach” to empirical work fails to uncover important empirical relationships by disregarding behavioral aspects of human action. I …


Behavioral Economics And Insurance Law: The Importance Of Equilibrium Analysis, Tom Baker, Peter Siegelman Jan 2014

Behavioral Economics And Insurance Law: The Importance Of Equilibrium Analysis, Tom Baker, Peter Siegelman

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Because choosing insurance requires consumers to assess risks and probabilities, the demand for insurance has proven to be fertile ground for identifying deviations from rational behavior. Consumers often shun the insurance against large losses that they rationally should want (e.g., floods); and they are attracted to insurance against small losses (extended warranties, low deductibles) that no rational individual should purchase. But the welfare consequences of behavioral anomalies in insurance are complex, because consumers’ irrational behavior takes place in a market profoundly shaped by informational asymmetries. Under some conditions, deviations from rational behavior may actually generate insurance market equilibria that produce …


Judging Similarity, Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Irina D. Manta, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan Jan 2014

Judging Similarity, Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Irina D. Manta, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

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Copyright law’s requirement of substantial similarity requires a court to satisfy itself that a defendant’s copying, even when shown to exist as a factual matter, is quantitatively and qualitatively enough to render it actionable as infringement. By the time a jury reaches the question of substantial similarity, however, the court has usually heard and analyzed a good deal of evidence: about the plaintiff, the defendant, the creativity involved, the process through which the work was created, the reasons for which the work was produced, the defendant’s own creative efforts and behavior, and on occasion the market effects of the defendant’s …


Governing Communities By Auction, Abraham Bell, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2014

Governing Communities By Auction, Abraham Bell, Gideon Parchomovsky

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Common interest communities have become the property form of choice for many Americans. As of 2010, sixty-two million Americans lived in common interest communities. Residents benefit from sharing the cost of common amenities – pools, lawns, gazebos – and from rules that ensure compliance with community expectations. But decisionmaking in common interest communities raises serious concerns about minority abuse and manipulation, a problem well known to all property law students. Decisions about which amenities will be provided and which rules will be enacted are typically made through some combination of delegation and voting. Delegates often act for their own benefit, …


Behaviorism In Finance And Securities Law, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2014

Behaviorism In Finance And Securities Law, David A. Skeel Jr.

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In this Essay, I take stock (as something of an outsider) of the behavioral economics movement, focusing in particular on its interaction with traditional cost-benefit analysis and its implications for agency structure. The usual strategy for such a project—a strategy that has been used by others with behavioral economics—is to marshal the existing evidence and critically assess its significance. My approach in this Essay is somewhat different. Although I describe behavioral economics and summarize the strongest criticisms of its use, the heart of the Essay is inductive, and focuses on a particular context: financial and securities regulation, as recently revamped …


Putting The Trial Penalty On Trial, David S. Abrams Jul 2013

Putting The Trial Penalty On Trial, David S. Abrams

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The "trial penalty" is a concept widely accepted by all the major actors in the criminal justice system: defendants, prosecutors, defense attorneys, court employees, and judges. The notion is that defendants receive longer sentences at trial than they would have through plea bargain, often substantially longer. The concept is intuitive: longer sentences are necessary in order to induce settlements and without a high settlement rate it would be impossible for courts as currently structured to sustain their immense caseload. While intuitively appealing, this view of the trial penalty is completely at odds with economic prediction. Since both prosecutors and defendants …


Happiness Surveys And Public Policy: What’S The Use?, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2013

Happiness Surveys And Public Policy: What’S The Use?, Matthew D. Adler

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This Article provides a comprehensive, critical overview of proposals to use happiness surveys for steering public policy. Happiness or “subjective well-being” surveys ask individuals to rate their present happiness, life-satisfaction, affective state, etc. A massive literature now engages in such surveys or correlates survey responses with individual attributes. And, increasingly, scholars argue for the policy relevance of happiness data: in particular, as a basis for calculating aggregates such as “gross national happiness,” or for calculating monetary equivalents for non-market goods based on coefficients in a happiness equation.

But is individual well-being equivalent to happiness? The happiness literature tends to blur …


The Psychology Of Contract Precautions, David A. Hoffman, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan Jan 2013

The Psychology Of Contract Precautions, David A. Hoffman, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

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This research tests the intuition that parties to a contract approach each other differently before the contract is formed than they do once it is finalized. We argue that one of the most important determinants of self-protective behavior is whether the promisee considers herself to be in negotiations or already in an ongoing contract relationship. That shift affects precaution-taking even when it has no practical bearing on the costs and benefits of self-protection: the moment of contracting is a reference point that frames the costs and benefits of taking precautions. We present the results of three questionnaire studies in which …