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Converting Sentiments to Dollars: Scaling and Incommensurability Problems in the Evaluation of Child Support Payments

41 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2008 Last revised: 9 Sep 2008

Sanford L. Braver

Arizona State University (ASU) - Department of Psychology

Robert MacCoun

Stanford Law School

Ira Mark Ellman

Arizona State University College of Law; Arizona State University (ASU) - Department of Psychology; Center for the Study of Law and Society, Berkeley Law, University of California, Berkeley

Date Written: April 15, 2008

Abstract

We examine how ordinary citizens translate intuitions about child welfare and distributive justice into dollar amounts for post-divorce child support payments. Our analyses indicate that child support judgments are quite sensitive to anchoring and question-wording effects. Nevertheless, we find much that is both interpretable and principled in these judgments. For example, the amounts that citizens recommended in an open-ended format ("name") were nearly identical to the amounts other citizens selected from an array of choices in a multiple choice format ("choose").

Suggested Citation

Braver, Sanford L. and MacCoun, Robert and Ellman, Ira Mark, Converting Sentiments to Dollars: Scaling and Incommensurability Problems in the Evaluation of Child Support Payments (April 15, 2008). 3rd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Papers. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1121240 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1121240

Sanford L. Braver (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Department of Psychology ( email )

950 S. McAllister Ave
P. O. Box 871104
Tempe, AZ 85287-1104
United States

Robert MacCoun

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
650-721-7031 (Phone)

Ira Mark Ellman

Arizona State University College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Phoenix, AZ
United States
480-965-2125 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.asu.edu/HomePages/Ellman/

Arizona State University (ASU) - Department of Psychology ( email )

950 S. McAllister Ave
P. O. Box 871104
Tempe, AZ 85287-1104
United States

Center for the Study of Law and Society, Berkeley Law, University of California, Berkeley ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720-2150
United States

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