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Law and Preferences

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  • Oren Bar-Gill
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    Abstract

    Legal rules do more than provide incentives, they change people. When preferences and norms are endogenously determined via a process of imitation and learning, legal rules, by affecting the market outcome, may affect the dynamics of preference formation. Analyzing the effect of different legal rules should therefore go beyond the analysis of the incentives they provide. It should also include an analysis of their effect on the distribution of preferences and norms of behavior. We illustrate this claim by considering a simple market game in which individuals may have preferences that include fairness concerns. We show that different legal rules change not only the pattern of trade in a market game, but also individuals' fairness concerns. That is, different rules may eventually make individuals care more (or less) about a fair outcome. Specifically, our model suggests that enhanced remedies for breach of contract may reduce equilibrium preferences for fairness. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization.

    Volume (Year): 20 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 2 (October)
    Pages: 331-352

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:20:y:2004:i:2:p:331-352

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    Cited by:
    1. Riedel, Nadine & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah, 2013. "Asymmetric obligations," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 67-80.
    2. Galbiati, Roberto & Vertova, Pietro, 2014. "How laws affect behavior: Obligations, incentives and cooperative behavior," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 48-57.
    3. Felix Bierbrauer & Nick Netzer, 2012. "Mechanism Design and Intentions," Working Paper Series in Economics 53, University of Cologne, Department of Economics, revised 21 Aug 2012.
    4. Bonatti, Luigi, 2008. "Cultural relativism and ideological policy makers in a general equilibrium model with for-profit and non-profit enterprises," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-15, March.
    5. Fabrizio Adriani & Silvia Sonderegger, 2013. "Trust, Trustworthiness and the Consensus Effect: An Evolutionary Approach," Discussion Papers 2013-09, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    6. Klick, Jonathan & Parisi, Francesco, 2008. "Social networks, self-denial, and median preferences: Conformity as an evolutionary strategy," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1319-1327, August.

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