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A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Legal Scholarship: Economics, Behavioral Economics, and Evolutionary Psychology

18 Pages Posted: 24 May 2001 Last revised: 19 Sep 2012

Russell B. Korobkin

UCLA School of Law

Abstract

Legal scholars interested in the behavior of citizens subject to the law's dictates have long relied on economic analysis to inform their normative analysis of legal problems, and in recent years they have begun to make use of insights provided by behavioral economics and evolutionary psychology as well. This article presents a framework for understanding how these disciplines individually and together can inform legal scholarship. First, the article draws a distinction between motivational theories of behavior (that underlie both traditional law-and-economics analysis and evolutionary psychology) and empirical observation (exemplified by experimental social sciences such as behavioral economics) and contends that neither approach to studying behavior is alone sufficient to inform sound legal policy. Second, the article presents a model of how motivational theory and empirical observation can be combined to create a more useful multi-disciplinary approach to the study of law-relevant behavior, and provides an example of how the model can be used.

Suggested Citation

Korobkin, Russell B., A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Legal Scholarship: Economics, Behavioral Economics, and Evolutionary Psychology. Jurimetrics, Vol. 41, Spring 2001; UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 01-5. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=270114 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.270114

Russell B. Korobkin (Contact Author)

UCLA School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
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