Strategic Statutory Interpretation by Administrative Agencies

American Law and Economics Review 12: 95-115 (2010)

20 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2011 Last revised: 15 Apr 2015

Yehonatan Givati

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 25, 2009

Abstract

Many statutes are administered by administrative agencies. This paper shows that, when interpreting an ambiguous statute, administrative agencies choose between two strategies of statutory interpretation: the risky strategy - a relatively aggressive interpretation that provokes an appeal by the firm - and the safe strategy - a relatively non-aggressive interpretation that the firm complies with. The paper also shows that a change in the level of judicial deference may result in a shift from the risky strategy to the safe one, or vice versa. Therefore, contrary to the commonly held view, an increase in the level of judicial deference may result in agencies choosing a less aggressive statutory interpretation, and in more court decisions reversing agencies' statutory interpretation.

Keywords: Administrative Agencies, Statutory Interpretation, Law Enforcement

JEL Classification: D02, D73, D78, K23

Suggested Citation

Givati, Yehonatan, Strategic Statutory Interpretation by Administrative Agencies (September 25, 2009). American Law and Economics Review 12: 95-115 (2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1478336

Yehonatan Givati (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )

Jerusalem
Mount Scopus, 91905
Israel

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