Der Rückschaufehler Das Problem der Ex-ante-Perspektive bei der Fahrlässigkeitsbeurteilung ex post

„Das war doch für jeden absehbar!“ – Wenn etwas schiefgeht, zeigen Außenstehende hinterher oftmals nicht nur wenig Verständnis, sondern erweisen sich als verspätete Hellseher, die zum entscheidenden Zeitpunkt dieses Wissen offenbar lieber für sich behalten wollten. Tatsächlich entspricht es einer gut belegten typischen menschlichen Denkweise, nach Mustern zu suchen, so dass rückblickend der rote Faden in einer Chronologie, die zur Katastrophe führte, sehr viel klarer erscheint als zur Laufzeit. Dieses Phänomen bezeichnet die Psychologie als Rückschaufehler (Hindsight Bias). Darunter versteht man, dass die Einschätzung der...

Why lab experiments are a powerful tool for legal scholarship

Many questions formulated by legal scholars address a causal relationship between the law and human behavior: What is the effect of “teaser rates” on credit card debt? Will delegation of decision-making diminish the “stickiness of default rules”? Does a key information document improve retail investors’ understanding of investment products? Behavioral law and economics can help answering these questions, as it provides predictions about people’s behavior in a legally relevant context. Its increasing use in policy-making and law calls for an understanding of how these predictions are formulated and tested. Laboratory experiments are an important empirical method employed to this end. Thus, it comes at no surprise that...

Related Party Transactions of Listed Companies in Germany

Common law jurisdictions pride themselves on having a keen sense of fiduciary relationships and the perils of self-dealing. While the UK’s influence on EU law may recede in the long run, it has left another lasting impression in the EU’s revised Shareholder Rights Directive that regulates corporate governance aspects of European listed companies. Besides encouraging stewardship by institutional investors and ensuring shareholders a „vote on pay“, the directive introduces a new set of provisions on the company’s dealings with related parties—parents, sibling entities, controlled and associated entities, and managers. The rules on related party transactions (RPTs) are evidently inspired by, and modelled on, Chapter 11 of the UK’s Listing...

Vereinheitlichung der Staatsprüfung oder föderaler Wettbewerb?

Wenn es eine Konstante in der juristischen Ausbildung gibt, so ist es der Ruf nach Reform. Wurde in den 1970er-Jahren über die einstufige Ausbildung diskutiert, rang man in den 1980er-Jahren um deren Abschaffung. In den 1990er-Jahren stand der Freischuss zur Debatte, in den 2000er-Jahren folgte die Auseinandersetzung über das Schwerpunktstudium und den Bologna-Prozess. Inzwischen ist der Wunsch nach grundlegenden Veränderungen verblichen. Nur vereinzelt ertönt der Ruf nach Abschaffung des Schwerpunkts. Es geht eher um Vereinheitlichung und Vereinfachung. Zumindest die Justizminister sind sich darüber einig, dass der Prüfungsstoff begrenzt und „harmonisiert“ werden müsse. Zwar wollen sie aufgrund des Föderalismus „eine gewisse...

Is There a Relationship Between Shareholder Protection and Stock Market Development?

Does the quality of legal and other institutions make a difference to economic development and growth? In their very well-known studies of the relation between law and finance, Andrei Shleifer and his collaborators (in particular Rafael La Porta and Simeon Djankov) found evidence to support this claim. Their econometric analysis showed that higher levels of shareholder and creditor protection were correlated with increased financial development. This work became highly influential among researchers and policy-makers. Since the mid-1990s, the widespread belief has been that strengthening share-holder and creditor rights will lead to improved financial outcomes. This view became a mainstay of global policy initiatives, including...

Are apex court judges politically biased?

The question whether judges are politically biased is highly disputed. Some consider it a heresy even to ask the question, while others believe it to be a self-evident truism. If we look at how controversial the nomination procedures for new justices to the U.S. Supreme Court are, we see that most participants in the U.S. political process at least believe that justices are influenced by their political ideology. There is some empirical evidence confirming this belief. The seminal contribution on this issue is a study by Jeffrey Segal and Albert Cover. The authors construct an ideology score for Supreme Court Justices, which is based on newspaper reports regarding these judges prior to their election to the Court. The study finds a high correlation between...

Augmented Doctrinal Reality Exploring and Analysing Judicial Discourse with Computer-Aided Methods

When I discuss empirical studies of law with legal scholars and law students in Europe, whether is in Germany, Belgium, France or Italy, one comment I often hear is “but this is not law”.  This is a remark worth exploring, because it tells us something important about the way academic lawyers conceive of their discipline and its object of study. I tell my bachelor students that there are basically two ways to approach the study of law. One is as product of society and as instrument of social control. Much of the political science law and courts literature as well as the law & economics literature follow this approach. These literatures are concerned with...