Winter Term 2017/18

The inefficiency of efficient breach: Contract renegotiation under asymmetric Information

  • Date: Mar 19, 2018
  • Time: 05:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Andreas Engert
  • University of Mannheim
  • Location: MPI
Revisiting the longstanding debate about contract remedies and "efficient breach," we study experimentally whether expectation damages or specific performance better promote renegotiation of the contract when it matters-when the seller cannot be sure whether performing his obligation is efficient. We hypothesize that giving the buyer a right to specific performance enables her to disclose more private information about her valuation of the good, facilitating agreement between the parties. We test the hypothesis in a first experiment with one-sided asymmetric information: the seller's cost of performance is commonly known but the buyer's valuation is private information. The experimental design aims at insulating the incentive effect, stripping away the contractual context to neutralize the players' normative preconceptions. The results lend some support to the advantages of specific performance. They also suggest that those advantages will become more prominent under two-sided asymmetric information, which we intend to test in a second experiment. [more]

The Geography of Legal Integration in Europe: Mapping and Predicting Subnational Disparities in Referral Activity

  • Date: Mar 12, 2018
  • Time: 05:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Arthur Dyevre
  • University of Leuven Law School
  • Location: MPI
We investigate subnational disparities in preliminary reference activity by locating national courts on maps of the EU territory. Spatial visualization reveals that involvement in the preliminary ruling procedure tends to be concentrated in a relatively small subset of regions within member states. Using a machine learning approach, we explore a wide range of possible predictors and the relations among them. Our data-driven analysis shows that regions that are the seat of a peak court and have a large cargo port are associated with higher referral rates. So too are regions that are the seat of the country's capital and regions exhibiting greater economic dynamism. Our ndings directly inform the theoretical discussion and suggest ways to reconcile varying strands of research on trade, courts, litigation and institutional change in the EU context. [more]

On Experimental Legal Philosophy

  • Date: Feb 19, 2018
  • Time: 05:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Stefan Magen
  • Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • Location: MPI

Fairness in Machine Decision Making

  • Date: Jan 29, 2018
  • Time: 05:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Krishna Gummadi
  • Max Planck Institute for Software Systems
  • Location: MPI
Machine (data-driven learning-based) decision making is increasingly being used to assist or replace human decision making in a variety of domains ranging from banking (rating user credit) and recruiting (ranking applicants) to judiciary (profiling criminals) and journalism (recommending news-stories). Recently concerns have been raised about the potential for discrimination and unfairness in such machine decisions. Against this background, in this talk, I will pose and attempt to answer the following high-level questions: (a) How do machines learn to make discriminatory or unfair decisions? (b) How can we quantify unfairness in machine decision making? (c) How can we control machine unfairness? i.e., can we design learning mechanisms that avoid unfair decision making? (d) Is there a cost to fair decision making? [more]

Current Challenges in Market Design

  • Date: Jan 15, 2018
  • Time: 05:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Axel Ockenfels
  • University of Cologne
  • Location: MPI
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