Search results for: Author=Engel, Christoph 
Diffusion of Legal Innovations: The Case of Israeli Class Actions
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies
How to Protect Entitlements: An Experiment
Journal of Law and Economics
Editorial: Empirical Methods for the Law
Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics
Empirical Legal Studies: CELS and CELSE
Review of Law & Economics
Empirical Methods for the Law
Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics
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.
Keywords: normative claims, frequentist statistics, significance, power, structural equation model, finite mixture, Bayesian statistics, prediction, machine learning
JEL-Codes: A12 - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines, C01 - Econometrics, C11 - Bayesian Analysis: General, C12 - Hypothesis Testing: General, C18 - Methodological Issues: General, C81 - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access, H41 - Public Goods, K00 - General, K41 - Litigation Process
Experimental Criminal Law. A Survey of Contributions from Law, Economics, and Criminology
Empirical Legal Research in Action
If the Worst Comes to the Worst. Dictator Giving When Recipient’s Endowments are Risky
European Economic Review
Donors may often not be sure whether a recipient really deserves their help. Does this uncertainty deter generosity? In an experiment we find that, to the contrary, under most specifications of uncertainty, dictators give more, compared with the donation the same dictator makes to a recipient they know to have the expected value of the endowment with certainty. They are particularly concerned about the possibility that a recipient leaves the lab with no payoff from the game.
Modeling a Satisficing Judge
Rationality and Society
Judges and juries frequently must decide, knowing that they do not know everything that would be relevant for deciding the case. The law uses two related institutions for enabling courts to nonetheless decide the case: the standard of proof, and the burden of proof. In this paper, we contrast a standard rational choice approach with a satisficing approach. Standard theory would want judges to rationally deal with the limitations of the evidence. We posit that this is not only descriptively implausible, but also normatively undesirable. We propose a theoretical framework for a judge who only considers scenarios that "she does not dare to neglect", and aims at decisions that are "good enough", given the undissolvable limitations of the evidence. We extend this approach to parties who strategically exploit the limited factual basis, and to judges who have to allocate limited resources for fact finding to more than one case.
The Proper Scope of Behavioral Law and Economics
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Behavioral law and economics applies the conceptual tools of behavioral economics to the analysis of legal problems and legal intervention. These models, and the experiments to test them, assume an institution free state of nature. In modern societies, the law’s subjects never see this state of nature. However a rich arrangement of informal and formal institutions creates generalized trust. If individuals are sufficiently confident that nothing too bad will happen, they are freed up to interact with strangers as if they were in a state of nature. This willingness dramatically reduces transaction cost and enables division of labor. If generalized trust can be assumed, simple economic models are appropriate. But they must be behavioral, since otherwise individuals would not want to run the risk of interaction.
At the Mercy of a Prisoner. Three Dictator Experiments
Applied Economics Letters
We test male juvenile prisoners on a dictator game with another anonymous co-prisoner as recipient. Prisoners give more than students, but less than nonstudents of their age. They give more to a charity than to another prisoner. In one of two experiments, those convicted for violent crime give more than those convicted for property crime.