Abstract Principles and Concrete Cases in Intuitive Lawmaking

46 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2011

See all articles by Ira Mark Ellman

Ira Mark Ellman

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

Sanford L. Braver

Arizona State University (ASU) - Department of Psychology

Robert MacCoun

Stanford Law School

Date Written: February 5, 2011

Abstract

Citizens awaiting jury service were asked a series of items, in Likert format, to determine their endorsement of various statements about principles to use in setting child support amounts. These twenty items were derived from extant child support systems, from past literature and from Ellman and Ellman’s (2008) Theory of Child Support. The twenty items were found to coalesce into four factors (principles). There were pervasive gender differences in respondent’s endorsement of the principles. More importantly, three of these four principles were systematically reflected, in very rational (if complex) ways, in the respondents’ resolution of the individual child support cases they were asked to decide. Differences among respondents in their endorsement of these three principles accounted for differences in their patterns of child support judgments. It is suggested that the pattern of coherent arbitrariness (Ariely, Loewenstein, & Prelec, 2003) in those support judgments, noted in an earlier study (Ellman, Braver, and MacCoun 2009) is thus partially explained, in that the seeming arbitrariness of respondents’ initial support judgments reflect in part their differing views about the basic principles that should decide the cases.

Keywords: child support, decisionmaking, judgments

Suggested Citation

Ellman, Ira Mark and Braver, Sanford L. and MacCoun, Robert, Abstract Principles and Concrete Cases in Intuitive Lawmaking (February 5, 2011). Law and Human Behavior, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1755707

Ira Mark Ellman (Contact Author)

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

Berkeley, CA 94720-2150
United States

HOME PAGE: http://csls.berkeley.edu/people/csls-affiliates

Arizona State University College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Phoenix, AZ
United States

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

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

Sanford L. Braver

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)

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