Behavioral Economics and Evidence Law
Fredrick E. Vars
University of Alabama - School of Law
May 24, 2013
Forthcoming, Oxford Manual on Behavioral Economics and Law (Eyal Zamir & Doron Teichman, eds.)
U of Alabama Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2269775
Behavioral economics has been applied to evidence law in at least four different ways: (1) to explain or justify current law; (2) to argue that current law counteracts or fails to counteract the findings; (3) to advocate changes in practice under existing law; and (4) to argue for law reform. On the surface, the first two applications appear descriptive and the second two normative. Below the surface all four missions share common assumptions about the power and generalizability of the psychological findings. Even superficially explanatory assertions are premised on the normative view that psychology should inform our understanding of evidence law. Whether it should, and how law and practice should be changed, are incredibly complex questions. Illustrating the complexity and suggesting ways forward are the goals of this Chapter.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: evidence law, behavioral economics, uncertainty, legal procedure, character evidence
Date posted: June 5, 2013
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