1,328 research outputs found

    A Critique of the Odious Debt Doctrine

    Get PDF
    Choi and Posner indicate that it is unclear whether the doctrine will improve the welfare of the population that might be subject to a dictatorship in terms of the odious debt doctrine. The traditional backward-looking defense of the odious debt doctrine, which suggests that the doctrine is costless because it releases a suffering population from an unjust debt, is seriously incomplete. Although in specific cases the benefits of loan sanctions may exceed the costs, the defenders of the doctrine have not made the empirical case that the net benefits are sufficiently high in the aggregate as to warrant routine application of loan sanctions to odious dictators. Therefore, in the absence of such a showing, there is no reason to think that the odious debt doctrine would be a desirable rule of international law

    Norming in Administrative Law

    Get PDF
    How do regulatory agencies decide how strictly to regulate an industry? They sometimes use cost-benefit analysis or claim to, but more often the standards they invoke are so vague as to be meaningless. This raises the question whether the agencies use an implicit standard or instead regulate in an ad hoc fashion. We argue that agencies frequently use an approach that we call “norming.” They survey the practices of firms in a regulated industry and choose a standard somewhere within the distribution of existing practices, often no higher than the median. Such a standard burdens only the firms whose practices lag the industry. We then evaluate this approach. While a case can be made that norming is appropriate when a regulatory agency operates in an environment of extreme uncertainty, we argue that on balance norming is an unwise form of regulation. Its major attraction for agencies is that it minimizes political opposition to regulation. Norming does not serve the public interest as well as a more robust standard like cost-benefit analysis

    Climate Change Justice

    Get PDF
    Greenhouse gas reductions would cost some nations much more than others and benefit some nations far less than others. Significant reductions would impose especially large costs on the United States, and recent projections suggest that the United States has relatively less to lose from climate change. In these circumstances, what does justice require the United States to do? Many people believe that the United States is required to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions beyond the point that is justified by its own self-interest, simply because the United States is wealthy, and because the nations most at risk from climate change are poor. This argument from distributive justice is complemented by an argument from corrective justice: The existing 'stock' of greenhouse gas emissions owes a great deal to the past actions of the United States, and many people think that the United States should do a great deal to reduce a problem for which it is largely responsible. But there are serious difficulties with both of these arguments. Redistribution from the United States to poor people in poor nations might well be desirable, but if so, expenditures on greenhouse gas reductions are a crude means of producing that redistribution: It would be much better to give cash payments directly to people who are now poor. The argument from corrective justice runs into the standard problems that arise when collectivities, such as nations, are treated as moral agents: Many people who have not acted wrongfully end up being forced to provide a remedy to many people who have not been victimized. The conclusion is that while a suitably designed climate change agreement is in the interest of the world, a widely held view is wrong: Arguments from distributive and corrective justice fail to provide strong justifications for imposing special obligations for greenhouse gas reductions on the United States. These arguments have general implications for thinking about both distributive justice and corrective justice arguments in the context of international law and international agreements.Environment

    Happiness Research and Cost-Benefit Analysis

    Get PDF
    A growing body of research on happiness or subjective well-being (SWB) shows, among other things, that people adapt to many injuries more rapidly than is commonly thought, fail to predict the degree of adaptation and hence overestimate the impact of those injuries on their SWB, and, similarly, enjoy small or moderate rather than significant changes in SWB in response to significant changes in income. Some researchers believe that these findings pose a challenge to cost-benefit analysis, and argue that project evaluation decision-procedures based on economic premises should be replaced with procedures that directly maximize subjective well-being. This view turns out to be wrong or, at best, premature. Cost-benefit analysis remains a viable decision-procedure. However, some of the findings in the happiness literature can be used to generate valuations for cost-benefit analysis where current approaches have proven inadequate.

    The Law of Other States

    Get PDF
    The question whether courts should consult the laws of "other states" has produced intense controversy. But in some ways, this practice is entirely routine; within the United States, state courts regularly consult the decisions of other state courts in deciding on the common law, the interpretation of statutory law, and even on the meaning of state constitutions. A formal argument in defense of such consultation stems from the Condorcet Jury Theorem, which says that under certain conditions, a widespread belief, accepted by a number of independent actors, is highly likely to be correct. It follows that if a large majority of states make a certain decision based on a certain shared belief, and the states are well motivated, there is good reason to believe that the decision is correct. For the Jury Theorem to apply, however, three conditions must be met: states must be making judgments based on private information; states must be relevantly similar; and states must be making decisions independently, rather than mimicking one another. An understanding of these conditions offers qualified support for the domestic practice of referring to the laws of other states, while also raising some questions about the Supreme Court's reference to the laws of other nations. It is possible, however, to set out the ingredients of an approach that high courts might follow, at least if we make certain assumptions about the legitimate sources of interpretation. Existing practice, at the domestic and international levels, suggests that many courts are now following an implicit Condorcetian logic.

    Dollars and Death

    Get PDF
    Administrative regulations and tort law both impose controls on activities that cause mortality risks, but they do so in puzzlingly different ways. Under a relatively new and still-controversial procedure, administrative regulations rely on a fixed value of a statistical life representing the hedonic loss from death. Under much older law, tort law in most states excludes hedonic loss from the calculation of damages, and instead focuses on loss of income, which regulatory policy ignores. Regulatory policy also disregards losses to dependents; tort law usually allows dependents to recover for loss of support. Regulatory policy generally treats the loss of the life of a child as equivalent to the loss of the life of an adult; tort law usually treats the loss of the life of a child as less valuable. Regulatory policy implicitly values foreigners as equal to Americans; tort law does not. We argue that both areas of law make serious mistakes in valuing life and that each should learn from the other. Regulatory policy properly focuses on hedonic loss from death, and tort law should adopt this approach. But regulatory policy should imitate tort law's individualized approach to valuing the loss from death, including its inclusion of losses to dependents. If these changes were made, tort awards would be more uniform and predictable, and regulations would be less uniform and more stringent. In addition, average tort damages for wrongful death would be at least twice as high as they are today. With respect to dollar judgments for mortality risks, a pervasive issue is how to combine accuracy with administrability and predictability; both bodies of law could do far better on this score.

    Judicial Ability and Securities Class Actions

    Get PDF
    We exploit a new data set of judicial rulings on motions in order to investigate the relationship between judicial ability and judicial outcomes. The data set consists of federal district judges’ rulings on motions to dismiss, to approve the lead plaintiff, and to approve attorneys’ fees in securities class actions cases, and also judges’ decisions to remove themselves from cases. We predict that higher-quality judges, as measured by citations, affirmance rates, and similar criteria, are more likely to dismiss cases, reject lead plaintiffs, reject attorneys’ fees, and retain cases rather than hand them over to other judges. Our results are mixed, providing some but limited evidence for the hypotheses

    The Dynamics of Contract Evolution

    Get PDF
    Contract scholarship has given little attention to the production process for contracts. The usual assumption is that the parties will construct the contract ex nihilo, choosing all the terms so that they will maximize the surplus from the contract. In fact, parties draft most contracts by slightly modifying the terms of contracts that they have used in the past, or that other parties have used in related transactions. A small literature on boilerplate recognizes this phenomenon, but little empirical work examines the process. This Article provides an empirical analysis by drawing on a data set of sovereign bonds. The authors show that exogenous factors are key determinants in the evolution of these contracts. We find an evolutionary pattern that roughly separates into three stages. Stage one where a particular standard form dominates; stage two where there are external shocks and marginal players experiment with deviations from the standard form; and stage three where a new standard emerges. The pattern confirms roughly to the S curve commonly described in the product innovation literature. The authors also find that more marginal law firms are likely to be leaders in innovation at early stages of the innovation cycle but that dominant law firms are the leaders at later stages

    Standards, Rules, and Social Norms

    Get PDF
    • …
    corecore