Law, Psychology, and Morality: THE ROLE OF LOSS AVERSION

The Role Of Loss Aversion

by: Eyal Zamir

«Eyal Zamir masterfully analyzes and explains how the seminal research by Amos Tverksy and Daniel Kahneman on judgment and choice should affect our understanding of the way law has evolved and how legal rules should be rethought. Law, Psychology, and Morality is a must read for anyone who cares about the relationship between how we humans think and act and the type of rules we create to organize our societies.» –Russell Korobkin, Richard C. Maxwell Professor of Law, UCLA

Kahneman and Tversky’s Prospect Theory posits that people do not perceive outcomes as final states of wealth or welfare, but rather as gains or losses in relation to some reference point. People are generally loss averse, meaning that the disutility generated by a loss is greater than the utility produced by a commensurate gain. Loss aversion is related to psychological phenomena such as the status quo and omission biases, the endowment effect, and escalation of commitment. Law, Psychology, and Morality: The Role of Loss Aversion systematically analyzes the complex relationships between loss aversion and the law weaving together insights from cognitive and social psychology, neuropsychology, behavioral economics, experimental legal studies, economic analysis of law, normative ethics, moral psychology, and comparative law. It discusses diverse legal issues in private and public law, national and international law, and substantive and procedural law. Eyal Zamir provides an overview of the psychological studies of loss aversion to examine its effect on human behavior in the contexts of particular interest to the law, while discussing the impact of the law on people’s behavior through the framing of the choices they encounter. The book further highlights an intriguing compatibility between loss aversion and fundamental features of the law and various legal doctrines, while theorizing about the causes of this compatibility by drawing on insights from the economic analysis of law and evolutionary psychology. The book points to the correlation between loss aversion, deontological and commonsense morality, and the law, while proposing many normative implications.

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