Search results for: Keyword=H41 [17]

Pages

2018
Empirical Methods for the Law
Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics
174
5-23
2018
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.
2017
Abuse of Power – An experimental investigation of the effects of power and transparency on centralized punishment
2017/15
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Bonn
2017
Abstract
We investigate power abuse of a single punisher in a public-goods-game subject to variations in punishment power and contribution transparency. We find a high amount of abuse across all conditions. More power led to more abuse over time, while transparency could only curb abuse in the high power conditions. These findings highlight the dangers of power centralization, but suggest a more complex relation of power and transparency.
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.
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.
Inherited Institutions: Cooperation in the Light of Democratic Legitimacy
2017/01
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Bonn
2017
Abstract
We experimentally investigate whether the procedural history of a sanctioning institution affects cooperation in a social dilemma. Subjects inherit the institutional setting from a previous generation of subjects who either decided on the implementation of the institution democratically by majority vote or were exogenously assigned a setting. In order to isolate the impact of the voting procedure, no information about the cooperation history is provided. In line with existing empirical evidence, we observe that in the starting generation cooperation is higher (lower) with a democratically chosen (rejected) institution, as compared to the corresponding, randomly imposed setting. In the second generation, the procedural history only partly affects cooperation. While there is no positive democracy effect when the institution is implemented, the vote-based rejection of the institution negatively affects cooperation in the second generation. The effect size is similar to that in the first generation.
Selfish punishers – An experimental investigation of designated punishment behavior in public goods
Economics Letters
157
41-44
2017
Abstract
We show that a second-party punisher forces his peers to contribute to a public good while contributing significantly less himself. This effect increased over time and casts doubt on the prevalent prosocial interpretation of (designated) punishment behavior.
2016
Institutional Endogeneity and Third-party Punishment in Social Dilemmas
2016/06
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Bonn
2016
Abstract
This paper studies experimentally how the endogeneity of sanctioning institutions affects the severity of punishment in social dilemmas. We allow individuals to vote on the introduction of third-party-administered sanctions, and compare situations in which the adoption of this institution is endogenously decided via majority voting to situations in which it is exogenously imposed by the experimenter. Our experimental design addresses the self-selection and signaling effects that arise when subjects can vote on the institutional setting. We find that punishment is significantly higher when the sanctioning institution is exogenous, which can be explained by a difference in the effectiveness of punishment. Subjects respond to punishment more strongly when the sanctioning institution is endogenously chosen. As a result, a given cooperation level can be reached through milder punishment when third-party sanctions are endogenous. However, overall efficiency does not differ across the two settings as the stricter punishment implemented in the exogenous one sustains high cooperation as subjects interact repeatedly.
Mass Media, Instrumental Information, and Electoral Accountability
2016/01
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Bonn
2016
Abstract
Journalism is widely believed to be crucial for holding elected officials accountable. At the same time economic theory has a hard time providing an instrumental explanation for the existence of “accountability journalism”. According to the common Downsian reasoning, rational voters should not be willing to pay for information out of purely instrumental motives because the individual probabilities of casting the decisive vote are typically very low. We show that this rationale does not apply when a group of voters shares a common goal such as accountability and information is delivered via mass media. In contrast to the pessimistic Downsian view, rational voters can have a considerable willingness to pay for the provision of instrumental information in these scenarios. Our model thus reconciles the rational voter approach with the common perception of journalism as a watchdog that holds elected officials accountable.
You Are In Charge – Experimentally Testing the Motivating Power of Holding a Judicial Office
2016/15
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn
Bonn
2016
Abstract
Apparently judges’ decisions are not motivated by maximizing their own profit. The literature uses two strategies to explain this observation: judges care about the long-term monetary consequences for themselves, or individuals who are more strongly motivated by the common good self-select into the profession. We suggest that there is an additional explanation, the "office motive". In a lab experiment, we rule out both traditional explanations by design. Nonetheless authorities do a reliable job at overcoming a social dilemma. Calling the authorities "public official" or "judge" increases their sensitivity towards the degree by which individuals are selfish, and it reduces the effect of their social value orientation (making them more neutral). This suggests that the socially desirable effect is not driven by anger or sympathy with the victims, but follows from the desire to fulfill the expectations that come with the assigned task. We test three extensions: When given an opportunity to announce an explicit policy, judges become less sensitive to the objective degree of reproach, and more sensitive to their social value orientation. If judges are elected or experienced, they react more intensely to norm violations. Experienced judges are more affected by their social value orientation.