Christoph Engel, Matthias Sutter and Pascal Langenbach publish new research videos at “Latest Thinking”

September 27, 2022
How Are a Plaintiff’s Chances Affected by the Composition of the Court?
When one comes before a court, how can the chances of success be assessed? In this video, CHRISTOPH ENGEL considers the impact of the makeup of the German Constitutional Court (in terms of the panel of justices presiding) on a plaintiff’s prospects. Focusing on the effect of the justices’ familiarity with one another both before and after recompositions of the court, Engel identifies a positive relationship between such familiarity and a plaintiff’s prospect of success. Noting that the strength of this relationship differs for different outcomes (e.g. success on the merits v procedural requests), Engel’s work opens a path for further research on political bias as well as on the data published by the German Constitutional Court. more
How Are Economic Preferences Formed in Early Life and Adolescence?
Economic preferences that relate to time (patience), risk taking and social interaction have been shown to play an important role in life success. In this video, MATTHIAS SUTTER explores how these economic preferences are formed in early life and adolescence. Carrying out economic experiments and collecting survey data among 500 families in rural Bangladesh, Sutter finds that children adopt almost entirely the economic preferences of their parents. Sutter also shows that factors like higher income and coming from a larger household can help to form these economic preferences in a more advantageous manner. Highlighting that genetics alone cannot explain differences in economic preferences, Sutter’s work provides important information for governments seeking to intervene to improve life chances. more
How Does the Computerization of Decision Making Affect Perceptions of Fairness?
Algorithms and artificial intelligence are playing an increasing role in public decision making. In this video, PASCAL LANGENBACH analyzes the ways in which this aspect of digitalization affects perceptions of fairness. Looking at the contexts of predictive policing, school admissions and refugee location, Langenbach examines four different procedural models ranging from situations where human actors decide alone to scenarios in which human actors are not able to overturn decisions presented by the algorithm. The findings show that people perceive the fairest model as one in which humans come to a decision together with an algorithm, but remain highly involved in the decision-process. The research shows that computerization can help to bring about cost savings in public decision making but further studies are required to show how this can work more efficiently in practice. more
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