Research Handbook on Behavioral Law and Economics
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Research Handbook on Behavioral Law and Economics

Edited by Joshua C. Teitelbaum and Kathryn Zeiler

The field of behavioral economics has contributed greatly to our understanding of human decision making by refining neoclassical assumptions and developing models that account for psychological, cognitive, and emotional forces. The field’s insights have important implications for law. This Research Handbook offers a variety of perspectives from renowned experts on a wide-ranging set of topics including punishment, finance, tort law, happiness, and the application of experimental literatures to law. It also includes analyses of conceptual foundations, cautions, limitations and proposals for ways forward.
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Chapter 12: Law and economics in the laboratory

Gary Charness and Gregory DeAngelo


Experimental methods have become increasingly prominent in the social sciences. While field data are indeed rich and abundant, reflecting a variety of environmental factors, disentangling these factors is difficult, if not impossible. The intertwining of potential causal factors in the field is particularly acute in law and economics. Laboratory experiments have some important advantages over other approaches. The purpose of this chapter is to familiarize the reader with a handful of the vast array of techniques experimentalists use to explore theories related to law and decision-making in (mock) legal environments. The authors describe a set of experiments conducted to study decisions of judges, juries and attorneys and review experiments designed to study the effects of law enforcement. They also describe a set of experiments that study the bargaining behavior of principals and their agents and the role that communication plays in negotiations.

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