The core of the proposed research school is the newly composed Bonn Max Planck Institute. With the advent of Matthias Sutter, the institute has been transformed into a center for behavioral research. The institute is unique in its scope of behavioral work. While there are multiple behavioral labs, none of them encompasses a full-blown group of lawyers. The legal expertise in Christoph Engel’s group provides the opportunity for the thorough analysis of behavior as it interacts with institutional arrangements, and for the behaviorally informed design of institutional interventions. Matthias Sutter’s group brings a strong track record in lab and field experiments, and positions the institute at the forefront of experimental economics.
Christoph Engel and his group stand for a behavioral perspective on law that fully embraces the theoretical and empirical tools of economics and psychology. Work from the group has regularly been published in the best peer-reviewed journals in law. As the only non-American, Christoph Engel is a member of the board of the Society of Empirical Legal Studies, which spearheads the empirical legal movement. His group is thoroughly interdisciplinary, with seven lawyers running for habilitation, two econ post docs, and nine doctoral students from both disciplines. All law postdocs combine empirical projects targeting an international audience with a ha7bilitation project that links back to the German legal community. Christoph Engel is a member of Bonn Faculty of Law and Economics, and also holds a part-time position at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Matthias Sutter is a highly visible experimental economist with a long series of publications in the best economics journals. Despite the fact that he has joined the institute only very recently, his group of four postdocs and eight PhD students is already fully established. One of the postdocs is a psychologist. Four of the PhD students are in the final stage, and will soon become postdocs. The group is particularly well known for the thorough combination of lab and field experiments, and for the lifetime perspective on economically relevant behavior. The empirical work on credence goods directly links to law. Matthias Sutter is a member of the Cologne Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, and also holds a part-time position at Innsbruck University.
The Cologne Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences is one of the leading economics departments in the country, and very visible worldwide. Cologne University has excellence status, which has provided the Faculty with multiple opportunities for broadening and deepening its activities. Behavioral economics is one of the areas of specialization of the faculty, with dedicated chairs both in economics and in business. The Faculty has a fully established graduate school, of which the Max Planck School is part and parcel.
The Bonn Faculty of Law is among the leading law schools in the country, with a long tradition, and an exceptionally rich portfolio. Of particular interest is the Centre for Advanced Studies in Law and Economics CASTLE. It is not only endowed with one of the very few German professorships in law and economics. It also offers dedicated undergraduate training in law and economics.
On the economics side, the University of California at San Diego collaborates. UCSD is represented by one of the best-known and productive experimental economists, Uri Gneezy. He has repeatedly branched out on the implications of behavioral insights for the analysis and the design of institutions. One well-known illustration is his paper "A Fine is a Prize", demonstrating that a mild sanction for socially undesirable behavior may backfire.
A European hotspot of experimental economics is the Norwegian School of Economics NHH. In the collaboration with the Max Planck School, it is represented by Bertil Tungodden. He and his colleagues are of particular interest for our school as they have a whole series of experimental studies on the normative foundations of choice. This creates a direct link to normative debates in law.
On the law side, the school has an institutional link to ETH Zurich. ETH has just enlarged its center on law and economics, with three professorships on intellectual property, contracts and torts, and machine learning methods. ETH is represented by Stefan Bechtold. He for instance runs field experiments showing that authors are very reluctant to grant copyright if their “moral rights”, like the right to be named, are unprotected.
In law, Israeli academia very largely defines itself by US standards. This in particular holds for Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the other international partner of the school on the law side. Hebrew University is the most important place for behavioral work in law in Israel, and very visible internationally. Eyal Zamir as the representative, and his colleagues, productively complement the scope of the school by adding a law and psychology angle. This is illustrated by one of their particularly visible publications: if the same socially undesirable outcome is framed as resulting from an omission, rather than a commission, it is much harder to contain.