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Origins and Effects of Normative Commitments

Periodic Report Summary 3 - NORMCOMMIT (Origins and Effects of Normative Commitments)

Stand alone description of the project and its outcomes

Law and economics is divided between the consequentialist view that optimal policy should be based on calculations of costs and benefits and a non-consequentialist view that policy should be determined deontologically: from duties we derive what is the correct law–what is right and just.
Are there deontological motivations, and if there are, how might we formally model these motivations? What are the implications of things like deontological motivations for economics and policy, and what puzzles can we explain with deontological motivations that we cannot with standard models? What is the impact of law & economics on justice? Are deontological motivations shaped by laws? Does economic thinking crowd out deontological ones?
To answer these questions, his research has curated 4 terabytes of archival and administrative data on judges and courts where normative ideas incubate; the data bridge machine learning, causal inference, and normative theories of justice regarding equal treatment before the law and equality based on recognition of difference; and developed a programming language to study normative commitments in experiments, now used in 23 countries, 10 academic disciplines, private and public sectors, and local high schools.
Some current themes on consequences, formation, and measurement of normative commitments (and applications in law) include:
• Law and Development tracing the incentives that led to what are now viewed as human rights violations
• Markets and Morality how market forces interact with normative commitments
• Behavioral Judging social and psychological, economic and political influences on legal ideas and production of justice
• Law and Legitimacy role of legitimacy in legal compliance
• Demography of Ideas economics of interpretation as a source of normative commitments
His research has been accepted in leading economics journals (American Economic Review, Econometrica, Quarterly Journal of Economics, and Journal of Political Economy), computer science journals (Journal of Machine Learning Research), and blind peer-review law outlets (Stanford-Yale Junior Faculty Forum and Law and STEM Junior Faculty Forum).
The research has anchored successful applications with several million in grant budget awarded for “Origins and Effects of Normative Commitments”, “Positive Foundations of Normative Commitments”, and “Digital Humanities: Legal Analysis in a Big Data World” and received support from the European Research Council Consolidator Grant, Swiss National Science Foundation, and Agence Nationale de la Recherche. His work has also been supported by the MacArthur Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Templeton Foundation, Earhart Foundation, Institute for Humane Studies, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, and National Science Foundation.