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Using experimental evidence to improve delegated enforcement

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  • Fiala, Lenka
  • Husovec, Martin

Abstract

Digital content today is governed by online providers like Facebook or YouTube. Increasingly, these providers are expected to enforce the law by removing illegal content, such as copyright infringement or hate speech. Typically, once they are notified of its existence, they have to assess it and, if infringing, remove it. Otherwise, they face liability. This system of content moderation is a form of delegation of the state’s tasks to private parties. In literature, it is empirically established that some schemes of delegated enforcement can trigger substantial false positives, mostly due to over-compliance by providers and under-assertion of rights by affected content creators. This results in a phenomenon known as over-blocking: collateral removal of lawful content. We conduct a laboratory experiment to test a possible solution to this issue, as proposed by Husovec (2016). Our results show that an external dispute resolution mechanism subject to a particular fee structure can significantly reduce over-compliance by providers and improve the accuracy of their decisions, largely thanks to the content creators taking initiative. It does so by re-calibrating the typical asymmetry of incentives under the delegated enforcement schemes. The principles behind the solution have the potential to improve also other schemes of delegated enforcement where providers have weak incentives to properly execute delegated tasks in the public interest.

Suggested Citation

  • Fiala, Lenka & Husovec, Martin, 2022. "Using experimental evidence to improve delegated enforcement," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:71:y:2022:i:c:s0144818822000357
    DOI: 10.1016/j.irle.2022.106079
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Byung-Cheol Kim & Jin Yeub Kim, 2017. "The Economics of the Right to Be Forgotten," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(2), pages 335-360.
    2. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Lab experiment; Notice and takedown; Online enforcement; Copyright; Content moderation; Alternative dispute resolution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • K24 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Cyber Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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