Ethical Blind Spots & Regulatory Traps: On Distorted Regulatory Incentives, Behavioral Ethics & Legal Design

14 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2020

See all articles by Yuval Feldman

Yuval Feldman

Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law

Yotam Kaplan

Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 9, 2020

Abstract

Illegal and unethical conduct often proliferates around ethical blind spots – scenarios and situations in which ordinary law-abiding people find it difficult to identify the harmfulness of their own actions. Ideally, regulators should act to diffuse ethical blind spots by trying to improve ethical awareness of potential perpetrators, in order to reduce wrongdoing. In practice, however, regulators might have a distorted incentive to conserve ethical blind spots rather than diffuse them. Regulators seek to bolster their perceived effectiveness by demonstrating intensive and rapid enforcement activity. To do so, regulators might prefer to ignore the underlying cognitive causes of unethicality, and instead constantly sanction those wrongdoers who repeatedly fall in to the same trap of unintentional wrongdoing. We explore the origins of this problem in common regulatory incentive structures and in the standard design of legal norms.

Keywords: behavioral ethics, regulation, rules versus standards

Suggested Citation

Feldman, Yuval and Kaplan, Yotam, Ethical Blind Spots & Regulatory Traps: On Distorted Regulatory Incentives, Behavioral Ethics & Legal Design (July 9, 2020). Bar Ilan University Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 21-13, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3647219 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3647219

Yuval Feldman

Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Faculty of Law
Ramat Gan, 52900
Israel

Yotam Kaplan (Contact Author)

Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Faculty of Law
Ramat Gan, 52900
Israel

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
42
Abstract Views
459
PlumX Metrics