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ECONOMICS AND THE LAW: WHERE IS THERE CONSENSUS?

John Moorhouse [*]

Andrew Morriss [**]

Robert Whaples [***]

Abstract

We investigate where consensus exists in the field of Economics and the Law by analyzing responses to a questionnaire mailed to members of the American Law and Economics Association. These specialists are impressed by the efficiency of the common law, while few believe that the jury system is efficient. Fifty-nine percent conclude that there are currently too many attorneys in the U.S. Forty-one percent believe that there are about the right number--none think that there are too few. Among the other issues in the survey are precedent, contract law, litigation abuse, negligence, nuisance, punitive damages, no-fault auto insurance, product liability, contingency fees, losers paying for civil litigation, compensation for regulatory takings, privacy rights, and the economics of crime and punishment.

Economics and the Law: Where Is There Consensus?

The economic analysis of the law has become a major field within economics, touching a wide range of issues that are vital to American society and are the subject of many important national debates. Specialists in the field of law and economics have much to contribute to these debates, but policy makers, academics, and the general public often know little about these scholars' findings and informed opinions. Is there consensus in the field of law and economics? It's tough to tell. No one has systematically observed the final product of the intellectual production process--the judgments reached by the large, sometimes silent, body of scholars after the evidence in support of competing views has been weighed.

In this paper we investigate whether consensus exists by analyzing responses to a questionnaire mailed to law and economics specialists who are members of the American Law and Economics Association (ALEA). Respondents were asked to note whether or not they agreed with a set of propositions, using a five-point scale in which 1 equals "strongly disagree" and 5 equals "strongly agree." The responses are given in Table 1 and show consensus on many important issues. but substantial disagreement in some areas.

The ALEA is "dedicated to the advancement of economic understanding of law and related areas of public policy and regulation." "All the different 'schools' of economic analysis of law are represented in the Association." (These quotes are from a letter accompanying the 1996 Membership Application and Renewal Form.) Given its professional standing and membership policies, we assume that ALEA members are representative of the broader body of law and economics scholars. In the spring and summer of 1996 we mailed questionnaires to everyone listed in the most recent (1994) ALEA membership directory, excluding only students and those with addresses outside the U.S. Sixty-three usable questionnaires were returned--a response rate of 16.2 percent. We cannot think of compelling reasons that this method would yield a biased set of responses, and assume that the respondents are a random set of ALBA members.

This assumption is strengthened by the fact that our respondents' beliefs are very similar to those of economists in general. In order to compare experts on law and economics with a broader range of economists, we included in our survey five propositions, which have been used in previous surveys and are not related to the law. (The earlier respondents did not use a scale of 1 to 5, but were asked if they "generally agreed," "agreed, with provisos," or "generally disagreed" with each of the propositions. The wording of the propositions was exactly the same in both surveys.) In nearly every case, the responses of AEA members were almost exactly the same as those of members of the American Economic Association (AEA). Table 1 shows that 88 percent of law and economics experts believe that "a minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers." This is almost the exact same rate (87 percent) that was found in a survey of labor economists in the AEA (Whaples, 1996). Likewise, the percent of law and economics scholars who disagree with the proposition that "on balance, unions have increased productivity in many industries" is almost identical to the rate among labor economists (64 percent vs. 60 percent). According to another survey (Alston et al, 1992), 71 percent of economists "generally agree" that "tariffs and import quotas usually reduce general economic welfare," and 21 percent "agree with provisos." This is very similar to the responses of ALEA members seen in Table 1. Moreover 14 percent of ALEA members disagree with the statement that "a large federal budget deficit has an adverse effect on the economy," while 16 percent of those surveyed by Alston et al "generally disagree" with the same proposition. The final proposition states that "the distribution of income in the United States should be more equal." The ALEA members respond a little differently than the broader group of economists to this normative question. Thirty-six percent of ALEA members give l's and 2's (disagree), while only 27 percent of economists surveyed by Alston et al generally disagree. A smaller percent of L & E scholars generally agree with this statement (4's and 5's total 39 percent) than do the wider group of economists (48 percent). Still these differences are not overwhelming.

Discussion of Survey Results

The economic efficiency of the legal system is of paramount concern in the field of law and economics. The first group of law and economics questions (propositions 6 through 14) consists of broad questions related by the common theme of economic efficiency. Law and economics scholars are impressed by the efficiency of the common law. There is widespread agreement that the common law is generally efficient (84 percent agree). There is also a consensus that inefficient rules are more likely to be re-litigated (76 percent agree). This mechanism has been put forth as an explanation of the evolution of common law rules toward greater efficiency (Rubin 1983, Posner, 1992, Shavell 1995, and Cooter and Ulen 1997). Having expressed the opinion that the common law is generally efficient, almost half (49 percent) of the respondents are reluctant (are neutral) to go further and argue that common law systems produce more efficient rules than civil law systems. However, many (42 percent) agree with the statement and only 9 percent disagree. This consensus about the efficiency of the common law is in striking contrast with beliefs about the inefficiency of the jury system. Most law and economics experts (63 percent) disagree with the idea that the jury system is efficient. Merely twelve percent see it as efficient, none strongly.

There is also agreement that precedent is a public good which should be subsidized through public funding for courts (73 percent agree), that the common law of nuisance is best understood as an attempt to increase the value of resources (73 percent agree), and that contract law is best understood as an attempt to forestall opportunistic behavior (70 percent agree). However, there is a systematic difference between those with degrees in economics and those with law degrees on this last proposition. Economists are more likely to agree with the statement.

Economists and legal scholars differ somewhat over whether or not litigation abuse by attorneys represents a significant social cost. The typical economist believes that litigation abuse is a significant problem, while the average legal scholar is more neutral. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed conclude that society is misallocating resources in the legal market--that there are currently too many attorneys in the U.S. Forty-one percent believe that there are about the right number of attorneys, and none think that there are too few. Again, there is a significant gap between economists and legal scholars. As might be expected, those who train attorneys are more likely to believe that the present number of attorneys is near the social optimum.

The next set of propositions (15 through 18) also includes broad statements. but here the issue is equity. Fully 70 percent of those responding agree that the common law is generally equitable. However, very few (5 percent) agree strongly. Only 13 percent disagree and 17 percent are neutral. Thirty percent of those answering think the jury system is equitable, slightly less than half (47 percent) disagree, with 23 percent neutral. Again the common law scores highly, but the jury system does not. This is an important finding. Forty-seven percent of those responding are neutral about the equity of losers paying the legal fees of winners in civil litigation. Forty percent think it is equitable for losers to pay and 13 percent disagree. Thus, there is no consensus on the "losers pay" rule. Finally, 67 percent agree (and only 20 percent disagree) that judges' decisions are often the result of their political, social, and personal views. This may have a significant impact on the equity of the legal system.

The fourth set (propositions 19 through 24) focuses more narrowly on the efficiency of negligence and liability law. Large majorities agree that it would be inefficient to hold Good Samaritans liable for negligence in rescue attempts, and that limiting punitive damage awards to three times actual damages would be more efficient that the current procedure. On a related point, scholars are split about the recent trend in punitive damage awards over the past decade. On the other negligence and liability issues there is no overwhelming consensus, though slight majorities and near majorities emerge. Just over half disagree with the statement that no fault auto insurance is efficient and disagree with the idea that joint and several liability is efficient in product liability cases. (Under joint and several liability, the plaintiff may proceed jointly against all the injurors or may decide to recover damages from only some or only one of them. The only constraint is that the amount of damages sought cannot exceed actual damages.) Finally, there is little agreement about whether product liability should be dealt with at the state or federal level.

The next group of questions (25 through 29) wrestles with a miscellany of other efficiency issues. A large majority (80 percent) disagrees with the statement that contingent fees are inefficient. The collateral source rule, barring the deduction of proceeds from victims' insurance from trial damages, is deemed efficient by 65 percent of those responding. There is a statistically significant difference in the responses of economists and legal scholars, with legal scholars much more likely to interpret the rule as efficient. The basic economic argument is that allowing such a deduction reduces the incentive of potential injurors to exercise due care, because, in effect, potential victims are providing insurance to injurors. Less unanimity is found on three other efficiency issues. Only 41 percent think compensation for all regulatory takings is efficient. (44 percent think it is not.) On the efficiency of privacy rights to conceal embarrassing facts from employers, 45 percent expressed no opinion (are neutral) while 36 percent think it inefficient and 20 percent efficient. [See Posner (1981) chapters 9 and 10.]

Four propositions (30 through 33) examine the economics of crime. Almost everyone (80 percent) agrees that criminals commit crime because the expected benefits outweigh the expected costs. Several noted that they regard this statement as tautological. However, economists and legal scholars differ in their responses. Economists, not surprisingly, are more likely to agree with the statement. Large majorities agree on the other three questions, as well. Seventy-three percent agree that capital punishment has a deterrent effect. Even more, 78 percent, believe that increasing the likelihood of punishment has a larger deterrent effect than increasing the severity of the punishment. No one disagrees with this important conclusion drawn from the economic analysis of law. Finally, 71 percent endorse the idea that fines are more efficient than incarceration for crimes involving non-violent behavior.

The last proposition deals with the methodology of law and economics. While economic analysis has proved to be a valuable tool for understanding the law, there is no consensus on the ethical soundness of using neoclassical analysis as the basis for improving the legal system. Forty percent agree, 30 are neutral. and 30 percent disagree.

This survey suggests that consensus has been reached on many issues in law and economics. In addition. there are apparently few differences between economists and legal scholars over the central issues in law and economics. The findings of this field, especially those dealing with the efficiency of the common law, the problems of the jury system, the optimal number of attorneys, punitive damages. product liability. and deterring criminal behavior, will be of great interest to policy makers and the educated citizen.

We hope that there is much value added in communicating these findings. as we have attempted to do in this paper.

(*.) Department of Economics, Wake Forest University

(**.) School of Law and Department of Economics, Case Western Reserve University

(***.) Department of Economics, Wake Forest University.

References

Alston, Richard, J. R. Kearl, and Michael Vaughan. 1992. "Is There a Consensus among Economists in the 1990s?" American Economic Association: Papers and Proceedings, 82(2), May, pp. 203-09.

Cooter, Robert and Thomas Ulen. Law and Economics, 2nd edition. Addison-Wesley, 1997.

Moorhouse, John C., Andrew P. Moriss, and Robert Whaples, "Law & Economics and Tort Law: A Survey of Scholarly Opinion," Albany Law Review, 62(2), pp. 667-696.

Posner, Richard A. Economic Analysis of Law, 4th edition. Little Brown, 1992.

Posner, Richard A. The Economics of Justice. Harvard, 1981.

Rubin, Paul. Business Firms and the Common Law: The Evolution of Efficient Rules. Praeger, 1983.

Shavell, Steven. 1995. "The Appeals Process as a Means of Error Correction," Journal of Legal Studies, 24(2), June, pp. 379-426.

Whaples, Robert. 1996. "Is There Consensus among American Labor Economists? Survey Results on Forty Propositions." Journal of Labor Research, 17(4), Fall, pp. 723-32.

Whaples, Robert, Andrew P. Moriss, and John C. Moorhouse, 1998, "What Should Lawyers Know about Economics?" Journal of Legal Education, March, 48(1), pp. 120-124.
 Responses to Law and Economics Survey
Instructions: "Please note whether you
agree or disagree with these statements on
the five point scale beneath each statement."
1. Proposition
Strongly Disagree 1 2 3 4
In the table below the results are given
in the following format:
Strongly Disagree A% B% C% D%
where A = percent circling 1, B = percent
circling 2, etc.
All averages are weighted numerical
means of the five responses.
Comparison Questions
1. A minimum wage increases unemployment
among young and unskilled workers.
Strongly Disagree 0 9 3 29
% Responding: 94
Average: 4.39 Law: 4.17 Econ: 4.60
2. On balance, unions have increased
productivity in many industries.
Strongly Disagree 32 32 22 14
% Responding: 94
Average: 2.17 Law: 2.11 Econ: 2.21
3. Tariffs and import quotas usually
reduce general economic welfare.
Strongly Disagree 0 0 2 33
% Responding: 100
Average: 4.63 Law: 4.66 Econ: 4.60
4. A large federal budget deficit has
an adverse effect on the economy.
Strongly Disagree 2 12 13 60
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.72 Law: 3.71 Econ: 3.88
5. The distribution of income in the
United States should be more equal.
Strongly Disagree 15 20 25 19
% Responding: 94
Average: 3.08 Law: 3.06 Econ: 2.94
Broad Issues of Economic Efficiency
6. The common law is generally efficient.
Strongly Disagree 0 5 12 71
% Responding: 97
Average: 3.92 Law: 4.00 Econ: 3.72
7. Inefficient rules are more likely to
be relitigated than efficient rules.
Strongly Disagree 0 12 12 60
% Responding: 92
Average: 3.79 Law: 3.75 Econ: 3.94
Instructions: "Please note whether you
agree or disagree with these statements on
the five point scale beneath each statement."
1. Proposition
Strongly Disagree 5 Strongly Agree
In the table below the results are given
in the following format:
Strongly Disagree E% Strongly Agree
where A = percent circling 1, B = percent
circling 2, etc.
All averages are weighted numerical
means of the five responses.
Comparison Questions
1. A minimum wage increases unemployment
among young and unskilled workers.
Strongly Disagree 59 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 94
Average: 4.39 Law/Econ: 4.2
2. On balance, unions have increased
productivity in many industries.
Strongly Disagree 0 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 94
Average: 2.17 Law/Econ: 2.4
3. Tariffs and import quotas usually
reduce general economic welfare.
Strongly Disagree 65 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 100
Average: 4.63 Law/Econ: 4.6
4. A large federal budget deficit has
an adverse effect on the economy.
Strongly Disagree 13 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.72 Law/Econ: 3.2
5. The distribution of income in the
United States should be more equal.
Strongly Disagree 20 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 94
Average: 3.08 Law/Econ: 3.8
Broad Issues of Economic Efficiency
6. The common law is generally efficient.
Strongly Disagree 13 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 97
Average: 3.92 Law/Econ: 4.0
7. Inefficient rules are more likely to
be relitigated than efficient rules.
Strongly Disagree 16 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 92
Average: 3.79 Law/Econ: 3.6
 8. Common law systems general
produce more efficient legal
rules than civil law systems.
Strongly Disagree 2 7
% Responding: 87
Average: 3.47 Law: 3.58
 9. The jury system is efficient.
Strongly Disagree 21 42
% Responding: 91
Average: 2.28 Law: 2.36
10. Precedent is a public good and its
production ought to be subsidized
through public funding for courts.
Strongly Disagree 2 14
% Responding: 94
Average: 3.71 Law: 3.78
11. The common law of nuisance is best
Strongly Disagree 0 10
understood as an attempt to increase
the value of resources.
% Responding: 83
Average: 3.90 Law: 3.88
12. Contract law is best understood as
a means to deterring parties to a contract
from behaving opportunistically
toward the other partis.
Strongly Disagree 6 13
% Responding: 86
Average: 3.63 Law: 3.38
13. Litigation abuse by plaintiffs'
attorneys is a significant social cost.
Strongly Disagree 10 15
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.53 Law: 3.27
14. In comparison to the social optimum,
the number of attorneys in the United
States is currently:
All: Too Many: 59
Law: Too Many: 45
Econ: Too Many: 79 [**]
Law/Econ: Too Many: 100 [*]
% Responding: 81
Equity Issues
15. The common law is general equitable.
Strongly Disagree 2 11
% Responding: 91
Average: 3.61 Law: 3.57
16. The jury system is equitable.
Strongly Disagree 26 21
% Responding: 91
Average: 2.58 Law: 2.69
17. It would be equitable for
losers topay the legal fees of
winners in civil litigation.
Strongly Disagree 0 13
% Responding: 87
Average: 3.38 Law: 3.31
 8. Common law systems general
produce more efficient legal
rules than civil law systems.
Strongly Disagree 49 26
% Responding: 87
Average: 3.47 Econ: 3.25
 9. The jury system is efficient.
Strongly Disagree 25 12
% Responding: 91
Average: 2.28 Econ: 2.00
10. Precedent is a public good and its
production ought to be subsidized
through public funding for courts.
Strongly Disagree 12 58
% Responding: 94
Average: 3.71 Econ: 3.61
11. The common law of nuisance is best
Strongly Disagree 17 46
understood as an attempt to increase
the value of resources.
% Responding: 83
Average: 3.90 Econ: 3.93
12. Contract law is best understood as
a means to deterring parties to a contract
from behaving opportunistically
toward the other partis.
Strongly Disagree 11 53
% Responding: 86
Average: 3.63 Econ: 3.93 [*]
13. Litigation abuse by plaintiffs'
attorneys is a significant social cost.
Strongly Disagree 12 38
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.53 Econ: 4.00 [*]
14. In comparison to the social optimum,
the number of attorneys in the United
States is currently:
All: About Right: 41
Law: About Right: 55
Econ: About Right: 21
Law/Econ: About Right: 0
% Responding: 81
Equity Issues
15. The common law is general equitable.
Strongly Disagree 17 65
% Responding: 91
Average: 3.61 Econ: 3.53
16. The jury system is equitable.
Strongly Disagree 23 28
% Responding: 91
Average: 2.58 Econ: 2.25
17. It would be equitable for
losers topay the legal fees of
winners in civil litigation.
Strongly Disagree 47 29
% Responding: 87
Average: 3.38 Econ: 3.53
 8. Common law systems general
produce more efficient legal
rules than civil law systems.
Strongly Disagree 16 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 87
Average: 3.47 Law/Econ: 3.4
 9. The jury system is efficient.
Strongly Disagree 0 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 91
Average: 2.28 Law/Econ: 2.6
10. Precedent is a public good and its
production ought to be subsidized
through public funding for courts.
Strongly Disagree 15 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 94
Average: 3.71 Law/Econ: 3.6
11. The common law of nuisance is best
Strongly Disagree 27 Strongly Agree
understood as an attempt to increase
the value of resources.
% Responding: 83
Average: 3.90 Law/Econ: 4.0
12. Contract law is best understood as
a means to deterring parties to a contract
from behaving opportunistically
toward the other partis.
Strongly Disagree 17 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 86
Average: 3.63 Law/Econ: 4.4 [**]
13. Litigation abuse by plaintiffs'
attorneys is a significant social cost.
Strongly Disagree 25 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.53 Law/Econ: 3.8
14. In comparison to the social optimum,
the number of attorneys in the United
States is currently:
All: Too Few: 0
Law: Too Few: 0
Econ: Too Few: 0
Law/Econ: Too Few: 0
% Responding: 81
Equity Issues
15. The common law is general equitable.
Strongly Disagree 5 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 91
Average: 3.61 Law/Econ: 4.2
16. The jury system is equitable.
Strongly Disagree 2 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 91
Average: 2.58 Law/Econ: 2.8
17. It would be equitable for
losers topay the legal fees of
winners in civil litigation.
Strongly Disagree 11 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 87
Average: 3.38 Law/Econ: 3.4
18. Judges' decisions are often
the result of the judges'
political, social, and personal views.
Strongly Disagree 3 17 13 50
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.60 Law: 3.41 Econ: 3.88
Liability and Negligence
19. Holding Good Samaritans liable
for negligence in rescue attempts
would be inefficient.
Strongly Disagree 2 9 22 50
% Responding: 86
Average: 3.70 Law: 3.56 Econ: 4.00
20. Limiting punitive damage awards to
three times actual damages would be
more efficient than the current procedure.
Strongly Disagree 9 16 11 45
% Responding: 89
Average: 3.50 Law: 3.41 Econ: 3.88
21. Punitive damage awards have increased
significantly over the past ten years.
Strongly Disagree 4 18 43 23
% Responding: 89
Average: 3.23 Law: 3.13 Econ: 3.38
22. No fault automobile insurance
 is efficient.
Strongly Disagree 21 32 20 23
% Responding: 89
Average: 2.55 Law: 2.51 Econ: 2.67
23. Joint and several liability in
 product liability cases are efficient.
Strongly Disagree 18 33 20 27
% Responding: 87
Average: 2.62 Law: 2.72 Econ: 2.29
24. Product liability law is more
Strongly Disagree 13 30 21 25
efficiently handled at the state level
% Responding: 84
 rather than the federal level.
Average: 2.91 Law: 2.89 Econ: 2.94
Miscellaneous Efficiency Issues
25. Allowing contingent fee
arrangements is inefficient.
Strongly Disagree 23 57 15 5
% Responding: 95
Average: 2.02 Law: 2.17 Econ: 1.78
26. Allowing injurors to deduct the
proceeds of injured victims' insurance
policies from the damages the injurors
must pay would be efficient.
Strongly Disagree 27 38 21 13
% Responding: 89
Average: 2.25 Law: 1.91 Econ: 2.79 [***]
18. Judges' decisions are often
the result of the judges'
political, social, and personal views.
Strongly Disagree 17 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.60 Law/Econ: 4.0
Liability and Negligence
19. Holding Good Samaritans liable
for negligence in rescue attempts
would be inefficient.
Strongly Disagree 17 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 86
Average: 3.70 Law/Econ: 3.6
20. Limiting punitive damage awards to
three times actual damages would be
more efficient than the current procedure.
Strongly Disagree 20 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 89
Average: 3.50 Law/Econ: 3.5
21. Punitive damage awards have increased
significantly over the past ten years.
Strongly Disagree 13 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 89
Average: 3.23 Law/Econ: 2.8
22. No fault automobile insurance
 is efficient.
Strongly Disagree 4 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 89
Average: 2.55 Law/Econ 2.4
23. Joint and several liability in
 product liability cases are efficient.
Strongly Disagree 2 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 87
Average: 2.62 Law/Econ: 1.8
24. Product liability law is more
Strongly Disagree 11 Strongly Agree
efficiently handled at the state level
% Responding: 84
 rather than the federal level.
Average: 2.91 Law/Econ: 3.0
Miscellaneous Efficiency Issues
25. Allowing contingent fee
arrangements is inefficient.
Strongly Disagree 0 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 95
Average: 2.02 Law/Econ: 1.8
26. Allowing injurors to deduct the
proceeds of injured victims' insurance
policies from the damages the injurors
must pay would be efficient.
Strongly Disagree 2 Strongly Agree
% Responding: 89
Average: 2.25 Law/Econ: 2.8 [*]
27. It is Pareto Optimal to require
compensation for all regulatory takings.
Strongly Disagree 18 26
% Responding: 91
Average: 3.02 Law: 2.91
28. It would be efficient for people to
have a privacy right to conceal embarrassing
facts about themselves from their employers
and prospective employers.
Strongly Disagree 5 30
% Responding: 89
Average: 2.80 Law: 2.79
29. It would be efficient for losers to pay
the legal fees of winners in civil litigation.
Strongly Disagree 0 11
% Responding: 87
Average: 3.49 Law: 3.38
Economics of Crime
30. People commit most crimes because the
expected benefits of the crime to them
outweigh the expected costs to them of the crime.
Strongly Disagree 7 8
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.93 Law: 3.70
31. Capital punishment has a deterrent effect.
Strongly Disagree 7 11
% Responding: 91
Average: 3.82 Law: 3.76
32. Increasing the likelihood of punishment
has a larger deterrent effect than increasing
the severity of the punishment.
Strongly Disagree 0 0
% Responding: 94
Average: 4.04 Law: 3.94
33. Fines are more efficient than incareration
for crimes involving non-violent behavior.
Strongly Disagree 0 5
% Responding: 89
Average: 3.91 Law: 3.75
Methodology of Law and Economics
34. Neoclassical economic theory provides the
ethically soundest guide to improving the legal system.
Strongly Disagree 13 17
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.07 Law: 3.03
27. It is Pareto Optimal to require
compensation for all regulatory takings.
Strongly Disagree 16 18
% Responding: 91
Average: 3.02 Econ: 3.06
28. It would be efficient for people to
have a privacy right to conceal embarrassing
facts about themselves from their employers
and prospective employers.
Strongly Disagree 45 18
% Responding: 89
Average: 2.80 Econ: 2.82
29. It would be efficient for losers to pay
the legal fees of winners in civil litigation.
Strongly Disagree 42 25
% Responding: 87
Average: 3.49 Econ: 3.81
Economics of Crime
30. People commit most crimes because the
expected benefits of the crime to them
outweigh the expected costs to them of the crime.
Strongly Disagree 5 45
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.93 Econ: 4.28
31. Capital punishment has a deterrent effect.
Strongly Disagree 11 37
% Responding: 91
Average: 3.82 Econ: 4.06
32. Increasing the likelihood of punishment
has a larger deterrent effect than increasing
the severity of the punishment.
Strongly Disagree 22 53
% Responding: 94
Average: 4.04 Econ: 4.11
33. Fines are more efficient than incareration
for crimes involving non-violent behavior.
Strongly Disagree 23 46
% Responding: 89
Average: 3.91 Econ: 4.29 [**]
Methodology of Law and Economics
34. Neoclassical economic theory provides the
ethically soundest guide to improving the legal system.
Strongly Disagree 30 30
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.07 Econ: 3.11
27. It is Pareto Optimal to require
compensation for all regulatory takings.
Strongly Disagree 23
% Responding: 91
Average: 3.02 Law/Econ: 3.6
28. It would be efficient for people to
have a privacy right to conceal embarrassing
facts about themselves from their employers
and prospective employers.
Strongly Disagree 2
% Responding: 89
Average: 2.80 Law/Econ: 2.9
29. It would be efficient for losers to pay
the legal fees of winners in civil litigation.
Strongly Disagree 13
% Responding: 87
Average: 3.49 Law/Econ: 3.2
Economics of Crime
30. People commit most crimes because the
expected benefits of the crime to them
outweigh the expected costs to them of the crime.
Strongly Disagree 35
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.93 Law/Econ: 4.4
31. Capital punishment has a deterrent effect.
Strongly Disagree 36
% Responding: 91
Average: 3.82 Law/Econ: 3.4
32. Increasing the likelihood of punishment
has a larger deterrent effect than increasing
the severity of the punishment.
Strongly Disagree 25
% Responding: 94
Average: 4.04 Law/Econ: 4.4
33. Fines are more efficient than incareration
for crimes involving non-violent behavior.
Strongly Disagree 25
% Responding: 89
Average: 3.91 Law/Econ: 3.8
Methodology of Law and Economics
34. Neoclassical economic theory provides the
ethically soundest guide to improving the legal system.
Strongly Disagree 10
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.07 Law/Econ: 3.2
27. It is Pareto Optimal to require
compensation for all regulatory takings.
Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree
% Responding: 91
Average: 3.02
28. It would be efficient for people to
have a privacy right to conceal embarrassing
facts about themselves from their employers
and prospective employers.
Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree
% Responding: 89
Average: 2.80
29. It would be efficient for losers to pay
the legal fees of winners in civil litigation.
Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree
% Responding: 87
Average: 3.49
Economics of Crime
30. People commit most crimes because the
expected benefits of the crime to them
outweigh the expected costs to them of the crime.
Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.93
31. Capital punishment has a deterrent effect.
Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree
% Responding: 91
Average: 3.82
32. Increasing the likelihood of punishment
has a larger deterrent effect than increasing
the severity of the punishment.
Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree
% Responding: 94
Average: 4.04
33. Fines are more efficient than incareration
for crimes involving non-violent behavior.
Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree
% Responding: 89
Average: 3.91
Methodology of Law and Economics
34. Neoclassical economic theory provides the
ethically soundest guide to improving the legal system.
Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree
% Responding: 95
Average: 3.07


Notes: Law = those with law degree and no Ph.D. in economics, N = 38

Econ = those with Ph.D. in economics and no degree in law, N = 20

Law/Econ = those with Ph.D. in economics and degree in law, N = 5

(*.)= statistically different from the Law group's responses, at the 10 percent level

(**.)= 5 percent level; (***.) = 1 percent level
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Author:Moorhouse, John; Morriss, Andrew; Whaples, Robert
Publication:American Economist
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 1999
Words:5111
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