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PIPP Report Summary

Project ID: 324182
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Israel

Mid-Term Report Summary - PIPP (Proportionality in Public Policy: Towards a Better Balance between Interests and Rights in Decision-Making)

The “Proportionality in Public Policy” project focuses on situations of conflict between promoting public goals and protecting constitutional rights. The framework of proportionality has been adopted by courts around the world as a method by which to retroactively evaluate policy that limited individual rights in order to achieve public goals. This project focuses, for the first time, on the process by which rights-limiting policy is initiated, designed, and approved by decision makers, both bureaucratic and political, and attempts to deepen the understanding of the factors that affect the proportionality of the policy outcome. The research employs an array of innovative methodologies to tackle the question of the place of rights in the policy process.
The project is divided into three strands of research. The legal strand analyzes judicial decisions in six countries (Canada, South Africa, Germany, Poland, Israel and India), and conducts a comparative analysis of the ways in which the framework of proportionality is applied by the judiciary, in a variety of contexts. The policy strand relies upon interviews and case studies to deepen the understanding of the way in which considerations of rights are currently treated in the policy process in different contexts, and the mechanisms that positively or negatively affect the weight afforded to rights. Under the umbrella of a joint working group, three case studies are being conducted, focusing on the creation of policy aimed at combating terror in the EU, Germany and Israel. The behavioral strand employs experimental methodology to investigate the behavioral characteristics of decision making in situations of conflict between rights and public interests. Experiments focus, for example, on the effects of different choice architectures; the sensitivity of balancing to relevant and irrelevant information; the effect of expertise on proportionality evaluations; and the benefits of different decision aids.
The project is currently at its midpoint. Besides the ongoing research activity, the project has convened two international expert workshops. The first, which took place in Madrid in June 2015, focused on a descriptive account of the consideration of rights in the policy making process and the structural barriers to the adoption of proportional policy. It was attended by researchers in law, political science, and criminology. The second workshop, which took place in Paris in March 2016, focused on empirical research of the balancing process between rights and other interests. It was attended by experts from the fields of law, psychology and behavioral economics.

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