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Debiasing through Law

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  • Christine Jolls
  • Cass R. Sunstein
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    Abstract

    In many settings, human beings are boundedly rational. A distinctive and insufficiently explored legal response to bounded rationality is to attempt to debias through law by steering people in more rational directions. In many domains, existing legal analyses emphasize the alternative approach of insulating outcomes from the effects of boundedly rational behavior, which itself is taken as a given. In fact, however, many legal strategies are efforts to engage in the different approach of debiasing through law by reducing or even eliminating people’s boundedly rational behavior. This paper offers a general account of how debiasing through law does or could work to address legal questions across a range of areas, from consumer safety law to corporate law to property law. Discussion is also devoted to the risks of government manipulation and overshooting that are sometimes raised when debiasing through law is employed.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Legal Studies.

    Volume (Year): 35 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 1 (01)
    Pages: 199-242

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:35:y:2006:p:199-242

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    Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

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    Cited by:
    1. Landeo, Claudia M., 2009. "Tort Reform, Disputes and Belief Formation," MPRA Paper 13453, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Kirchgässner, Gebhard, 2012. "Sanfter Paternalismus, meritorische Güter, und der normative Individualismus," Economics Working Paper Series 1217, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    3. Vincze, János, 2010. "Miért és mitől védjük a fogyasztókat?. Aszimmetrikus információ és/vagy korlátozott racionalitás
      [Asymmetric information and/or bounded rationality: why are consumers protected and from
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(9), pages 725-752.
    4. Engel, Christoph & Weber, Elke U., 2007. "The impact of institutions on the decision how to decide," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(03), pages 323-349, December.
    5. Berg, Nathan, 2010. "Behavioral Economics," MPRA Paper 26587, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Nathalie Chappe & Raphaël Giraud, 2013. "Confidence, Optimism and Litigation: A Litigation Model under Ambiguity," Working Papers 2013-05, CRESE.
    7. Berg, Nathan & Eckel, Catherine & Johnson, Cathleen, 2010. "Inconsistency Pays?: Time-inconsistent subjects and EU violators earn more," MPRA Paper 26589, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Dan M. Kahan, 2013. "Ideology, motivated reasoning, and cognitive reflection," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 8(4), pages 407-424, July.
    9. Gérard Charreaux, 2009. "Droit et gouvernance:l’apport du courant comportemental," Working Papers CREGO 1091001, Université de Bourgogne - CREGO EA7317 Centre de recherches en gestion des organisations.
    10. James Cooper & William Kovacic, 2012. "Behavioral economics: implications for regulatory behavior," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 41-58, February.
    11. Claudia Biancotti & Giuseppe Ilardi & Clair Lavinia Moscatelli, 2013. "The glass drop ceiling: composition effects or implicit discrimination?," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 182, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    12. Martin Binder & Leonhard K. Lades, 2013. "Autonomy-enhancing paternalism," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2013-04, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
    13. Sabine Frerichs, 2011. "False Promises? A Sociological Critique of the Behavioural Turn in Law and Economics," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 289-314, September.
    14. Christine Jolls, 2007. "Behavioral Law and Economics," NBER Working Papers 12879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Nicolas Jacquemet & Yannick Gabuthy, 2012. "Analyse économique du droit et méthode expérimentale," Working Papers halshs-00746617, HAL.
    16. Michael Faure & Hanneke Luth, 2011. "Behavioural Economics in Unfair Contract Terms," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 337-358, September.
    17. Landeo, Claudia M., 2009. "Cognitive coherence and tort reform," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 898-912, December.
    18. Brice Corgnet & Roberto Hernán-González, 2011. "Don't Ask Me If You Will Not Listen: The Dilemma of Participative Decision Making," Working Papers 11-04, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

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