Preprints [468]

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2017
Diffusion of Legal Innovations: The Case of Israeli Class Actions
11
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.
Optimal income taxation with labor supply responses at two margins: When is an Earned Income Tax Credit optimal?
10
2017
Abstract
This paper studies optimal non-linear income taxation in an empirically plausible model with labor supply responses at the intensive (hours, effort) and the extensive (participation) margin. In this model, redistributive taxation gives rise to a previously neglected trade-off between two aspects of effciency: To reduce the deadweight loss from distortions at the extensive margin, the social planner has to increase distortions at the intensive margin and vice versa. Due to this trade-off, minimizing the overall deadweight loss requires to distort labor supply by low-skill workers upwards at both margins. Building on these insights, the paper is the first to provide conditions under which social welfare is maximized by an Earned Income Tax Credit with negative marginal taxes and negative participation taxes at low income levels.
People Are Conditional Rule Followers
09
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.
Sophisticated and naïve procrastination: an experimental study
08
2017
Abstract
The model of time-inconsistent procrastination by O'Donoughe and Rabin shows that individuals who are not aware of their present-bias (naïve) procrastinate more than individuals who are aware of it (sophisticated) or are not present-biased (time-consistent). This paper tests this prediction. We classify participants into types using a novel measure, and require them to perform a real-effort task on one out of three dates. We find that sophisticated participants perform the task significantly later than naïve participants. Our data suggest that this result may be explained by habit formation.
Empirical Methods for the Law
07
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.
Probability Measures on Product Spaces with Uniform Metrics
06
2017
Abstract
For a countable product of complete separable metric spaces with a topology induced by a uniform metric, the set of Borel probability measures coincides with the set of completions of probability measures on the product σ-algebra. Whereas the product space with the uniform metric is non-separable, the support of any Bofrel measure is separable, and the topology of weak convergence on the space of Borel measures is metrizable by both the Prohorov metric and the bounded Lipschitz metric.
How to Protect Entitlements: An Experiment
05
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.
The Valuation of Moral Rights: A Field Experiment
04
2017
Abstract
U.S. intellectual property law is firmly rooted in utilitarian principles. Copyright law is viewed as a means to give proper monetary incentives to authors for their creative effort. Many European copyright systems pursue additional goals: Authors have the right to be named as author, to control alterations and to retract their work in case their artistic beliefs have changed. Protecting these “moral rights” might be justified by the preferences of typical authors. We present the first field experiment on moral rights revealing the true valuation of these rights by over 200 authors from 24 countries. A majority of authors are not willing to trade moral rights in the first place. They demand substantial prices in case they decide to trade. The differences between authors from the U.S. and Europe are small. These results call into question whether moral rights protection should differ across the Atlantic and whether a purely profit-based theory of copyright law is sufficient to capture the complex relationship between human behavior and creativity.
Carving out legacy assets: a successful tool for bank restructuring?
03
2017
Abstract
Beginning with the proposal by Enria (2017), the paper discusses the scope for successful bank restructuring through a carveout of impaired assets and a transfer of these assets to a government-sponsored asset management company. The paper argues that the success of such an operation requires a use of public funds, either outright or through contingent commitments. Clawback provisions are problematic because they create contingent liabilities that merely shift risks from the assets side to the liabilities sides of banks’ balance sheets. The paper distinguishes between asset impairments coming from considerations of prospective returns and asset impairments coming from frictions in the markets in which these assets are traded. It also distinguishes between threats to bank solvency and threats to bank funding/liquidity. In each case, the success of bank restructuring from asset carveouts depends on the extent to which threats to the bank’s solvency is eliminated. If these threats concern bank funding and asset liquidations at depressed prices, public funds may eventually not be needed. If threats to bank solvency come from nonperforming loans, taxpayer support may be essential. The notion of “real economic value” as the price at which assets should be transferred is problematic and leaves ample room for hidden subsidies. The success of restructuring of the individual bank may itself come at a risk to financial stability as the preservation of existing capacities maintains competitive pressure and depresses bank profitability. Additional risks may come from the burden on the government’s fiscal stance.
The Generic Possibility of Full Surplus Extraction in Models with Large Type Spaces
02
2017
Abstract
McAfee and Reny (1992) have given a necessary and sufficient condition for full surplus extraction in naive type spaces with a continuum of payoff types. We generalize their characterization to arbitrary abstract type spaces and to the universal type space and show that in each setting, full surplus extraction is generically possible. We interpret the McAfee-Reny condition as a much stronger version of injectiveness of belief functions and prove genericity by arguments similar to those used to prove the classical embedding theorem for continuous functions. Our results can be used to also establish the genericity of common priors that admit full surplus extraction.