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 16: Why Behavioral Economics isn’t better, and how it could be

Owen D. Jones

Abstract

What’s holding Behavioral Economics back? And what can be done about it? The fields of Behavioral Economics and Behavioral Law and Economics have each supplied important and useful insights. But the state of knowledge has changed rapidly across the decades since Tversky and Kahneman first highlighted how people sometimes systematically depart from predictions of the standard expected utility model in neoclassical economics. Those changes now render it uncomfortably obvious that Behavioral Economics, and those who rely on it, are falling behind with respect to new developments in other disciplines that also bear directly on the very same mysteries of human decision-making. This chapter identifies four problems for Behavioral Economics. It explores their causes. It then suggests and illustrates ways around them, including a path for integrating multi-disciplinary insights. The chapter provides concrete recommendations that can help to move these important schools of thought forward, in light of developments in other fields.

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