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Legal framing : reference-dependent evaluation of legal consequences

Sven Höppner (UGent)
(2016)
Author
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(UGent)
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Abstract
Contractual and statutory rules can be formulated in different ways, provide context, and set up procedures. In legal scholarship, economic theory of law, and legal practice this contextuality is hardly considered relevant for a person's behavior. By contrast, behavioral economics emphasizes that choices are sensitive to context. This contextuality is channelled through what economists call reference-dependent preferences. I propose that legal contextuality, i.e., "legal framing" matters. In three experimental studies, I show that subtly different legal rules may lead to substantially different behavior. Two studies investigate the effects of legal framing on contractual performance. The third study prescinds from the contract context to illustrate the concepts' applicability to more general legal problems such as legal uncertainty. The findings have implications for legal problems ranging from seemingly narrow problems of contract choice to important legal topics such as vague legal standards.
Keywords
performance-contingent pay, behavioral economics, experiment, contract law, legal uncertainty

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Höppner, Sven. Legal Framing : Reference-Dependent Evaluation of Legal Consequences. Ghent University. Faculty of Law, 2016.
APA
Höppner, S. (2016). Legal framing : reference-dependent evaluation of legal consequences. Ghent University. Faculty of Law, Ghent, Belgium.
Chicago author-date
Höppner, Sven. 2016. “Legal Framing : Reference-Dependent Evaluation of Legal Consequences.” Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Faculty of Law.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Höppner, Sven. 2016. “Legal Framing : Reference-Dependent Evaluation of Legal Consequences.” Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Faculty of Law.
Vancouver
1.
Höppner S. Legal framing : reference-dependent evaluation of legal consequences. [Ghent, Belgium]: Ghent University. Faculty of Law; 2016.
IEEE
[1]
S. Höppner, “Legal framing : reference-dependent evaluation of legal consequences,” Ghent University. Faculty of Law, Ghent, Belgium, 2016.
@phdthesis{7024707,
  abstract     = {{Contractual and statutory rules can be formulated in different ways, provide context, and set up procedures. In legal scholarship, economic theory of law, and legal practice this contextuality is hardly considered relevant for a person's behavior. By contrast, behavioral economics emphasizes that choices are sensitive to context. This contextuality is channelled through what economists call reference-dependent preferences. I propose that legal contextuality, i.e., "legal framing" matters. In three experimental studies, I show that subtly different legal rules may lead to substantially different behavior. Two studies investigate the effects of legal framing on contractual performance. The third study prescinds from the contract context to illustrate the concepts' applicability to more general legal problems such as legal uncertainty. The findings have implications for legal problems ranging from seemingly narrow problems of contract choice to important legal topics such as vague legal standards.}},
  author       = {{Höppner, Sven}},
  keywords     = {{performance-contingent pay,behavioral economics,experiment,contract law,legal uncertainty}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  pages        = {{var. p.}},
  publisher    = {{Ghent University. Faculty of Law}},
  school       = {{Ghent University}},
  title        = {{Legal framing : reference-dependent evaluation of legal consequences}},
  year         = {{2016}},
}