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Law, Psychology, and MoralityThe Role of Loss Aversion$
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Eyal Zamir

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199972050

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199972050.001.0001

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Legally Induced Reference Points

Legally Induced Reference Points

Chapter:
(p.99) 5 Legally Induced Reference Points
Source:
Law, Psychology, and Morality
Author(s):

Eyal Zamir

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199972050.003.0005

Chapter 5 analyzes the contribution of loss aversion to our understanding of how legal norms affect human perceptions and behavior—that is, how loss aversion is sometimes the output of legal norms. One prime example of this is the powerful “default effect” of legal norms on human behavior in contexts such as posthumous organ donation. Similarly, the chapter argues that the burden of proof in civil litigation is much more than a tiebreaker for cases of evidentiary tie—it sets the baseline against which judges assess the evidence presented to them. Finally, the chapter discusses the use of temporary legislation as a means of overcoming objections to legal reforms—legislation that in turn changes people’s reference point and hence tends to become permanent.

Keywords:   burden of proof, legal norms, Coase theorem, contract law, default effect, default rules, endowment effect, status quo bias, temporary legislation

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