Search results for: Author=Engel, Christoph [395]

Pages

Forthcoming
Insuring Your Donation – An Experiment
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies
forthcoming
Abstract
An increasing fraction of donations is channeled through donation intermediaries. These enti-ties serve multiple purposes, one of which seems to be providing donors with greater certainty: that the donation reaches its intended goal, and that the donor may be sure to get a tax ben-efit. We interpret this function as insurance and test the option to insure donations in the lab. Our participants indeed have a positive willingness to pay for insurance against either risk. Yet the insurance option is only critical for their willingness to donate to a charity if the un-certainty affects the proper use of their donation.
2017
At the Mercy of a Prisoner. Three Dictator Experiments
Applied Economics Letters
24
774-778
2017
Abstract
We test male juvenile prisoners on a dictator game with another anonymous co-prisoner as recipient. Prisoners give more than students, but less than nonstudents of their age. They give more to a charity than to another prisoner. In one of two experiments, those convicted for violent crime give more than those convicted for property crime.
Behaviorally Efficient Remedies – An Experiment
2017/17
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Bonn
2017
Abstract
Under common law, the standard remedy for breach of contract is expectation damages. Under continental law, the standard is specific performance. The common law solution is ex post efficient. But is it also ex ante efficient? We use experimental methods to test whether knowing that non-fulfilment will only lead to damages deters mutually beneficial trade. The design excludes aversion against others willfully breaking their promises. We find that there is indeed less trade if specific performance is not guaranteed, provided the preference for the traded commodity is sufficiently pronounced.
Committing the English and the Continental Way – An Experiment
2017/16
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Bonn
2017
Abstract
On the doctrinal surface, there is a deep divide between common and continental law when it comes to the origin of contractual obligations. Under continental law, in principle a unilateral promise suffices. Common law by contrast requires consideration. When it comes to deciding cases, the divide is much less pronounced. But for the most part the law does not govern people's lives through adjudication. It matches or molds their moral intuitions. We test these intuitions in the lab. If consideration is required, participants believe that all participants make more ambitious promises. But they themselves make a more cautious promise. These two effects cancel out, so that promises are not more likely to be kept with consideration.
Diffusion of Legal Innovations: The Case of Israeli Class Actions
2017/11
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Bonn
2017
Abstract
In law and economics, it is standard to model legal rules as an opportunity structure. The law’s subjects maximize expected profit, given these constraints. In such a model, the reaction to legal innovation is immediate. This is not what we observe after class action is introduced into Israeli law. For a long time, the new remedy is almost unused. Then the adoption process gains momentum. We discuss alternative options for theorizing the effect. We find that market entry is not only explained by the available information about profitability, but also by the adoption pattern of others. When deciding whether to bring further claims, law firms also react to the experiences they have made themselves. We thus explain the pattern by individual and social learning, and cannot exclude mere social imitation.
Does Efficiency Trump Legality? The Case of the German Constitutional Court
2017/20
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Bonn
2017
Abstract
The US Supreme Court has the power of certiorari. It may pick its fights. As a beneficial side effect, the court may allocate its resources, in particular the time and energy the justices spend on a case, to worthy causes. In economic parlance, this discretion makes the court more efficient. Efficiency comes at a political cost, though. This discretion also gives the court political power. It may direct its verdict to causes that are politically most relevant, or it may put an issue on the political agenda. Officially German constitutional law does not have certiorari. The Constitutional Court must decide each and every case that is brought. Yet over time the court has crafted a whole arsenal of more subtle measures for managing the case load. This paper shows that it uses these tools to engage in its version of allocating resources to cases. It investigates whether the ensuing efficiency gain comes at the cost of biasing the court’s jurisprudence. The paper exploits a new comprehensive data set. It consists of all (mostly only electronically) published cases the court has heard in 2011. While the data is rich, in many technical ways it is demanding. The paper uses a factor analysis to create a latent variable: to which degree has the court taken an individual case seriously? It then investigates whether observed indicators for bias explain this latent variable. Since the paper essentially investigates a single (independent) case, in statistical terms the findings are to be interpreted with caution. The paper can only aim at finding smoking guns.
Editorial Preface
Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics
173
1
1-3
2017
Empirical Methods for the Law
2017/07
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Bonn
2017
Abstract
To their credit, empirical legal scholars try to live up to the highest methodological standards from the social sciences. But these standards do not always match the legal research question. This paper focuses on normative legal argument based on empirical evidence. Whether there is a normative problem, and whether legal intervention promises to mitigate the problem, requires a decision. If uncertainty cannot be completely removed, the legal decision-maker must weigh the risk of false positives against the risk of false negatives. This may call for an adjustment of the significance level. The fact that all legal choice is historically contingent, that legal problems tend to be ill-defined, and that strategic actors have an incentive to bias the generation of evidence defy frequentist statistics. Yet the law can capitalize on the adversarial principle. Competition among interested parties helps contain the strategic element and spurs the creative search for better evidence. This leads to suggestive, but institutionally contained empirical evidence.
How to Protect Entitlements: An Experiment
2017/05
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Bonn
2017
Abstract
In a full-information, zero transactions costs world, the degree of protection afforded to an entitlement does not affect the likelihood of efficient trade. In reality, imperfect information is often inevitable. Specifically, a party will usually have incomplete information about fairness norms held by the other party – fairness norms that affect the other party’s willingness to pay (WTP) or willingness to accept (WTA). Importantly, these fairness norms may depend on how strongly the entitlement is protected. We experimentally test the effect of the degree of protection on the parties’ WTP and WTA and on the likelihood of efficient trade by varying the legal remedy for infringing upon the owner’s entitlement. We show that our participants can be divided into three groups corresponding to three different fairness norms: negative types whose WTP and WTA are decreasing in the strength of the legal remedy; positive types whose WTP and WTA are increasing in the strength of the legal remedy; and flat types whose WTP and WTA do not depend on the strength of the legal remedy. We find that type is role-dependent, such that a higher WTP and a lower WTA – the combination most conducive to efficient trade – is obtained with a weaker legal remedy.
People Are Conditional Rule Followers
2017/09
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Bonn
2017
Abstract
Experimental participants are more likely to follow an arbitrary rule the more of their peers do so as well. The difference between unconditional and conditional rule following is most pronounced for individuals who follow few rules unconditionally.