Behavioural Public Law

Teaching Session (Online)

MPI for Research on Collective Goods

Professor Dr Dr hc Christoph Engel (Director)
Dr Dr Yoan Hermstrüwer (Senior Research Fellow)
Dr Dr Pascal Langenbach (Senior Research Fellow)
Dr Laurence O’Hara (Senior Research Fellow)
Dr Frederike Zufall (Senior Research Fellow)

One of the primary objectives of law is to shape behaviour. While several areas of private law, such as contract law or antitrust law, have been relatively swift in adopting insights and methods from behavioural law and economics and empirical legal studies, public law remains, for large parts, uncharted territory. This creates a unique opportunity to gauge the behavioural impact of public law in action.

Taking up the challenge, this workshop is aimed at exploring the substantive and methodological contributions the behavioural sciences can make to continental public law. Public law, as understood in the context of this workshop, will encompass a broad range of topics, including the prediction of crime, the interface of public and private law, or algorithmic decision-making by government authorities. The contributions will also illustrate how the behavioural public law perspective relates to other areas of law, such as legal compliance in general or corporate governance.

The contributors will host two online sessions on July 21 and July 22, 2021.

The first session will explore how the behavioral sciences bring evidence to bear on the substance of different areas of public law. Building on theoretical and empirical evidence, the contributions will illustrate how insights from the behavioural sciences can be used to refine public law doctrine and improve the design of rules in administrative law, police law, constitutional law, and fundamental rights.

The second session will provide a more technical view on the methods that can be applied to measure both the effects of public law and behavioural effects relevant in select areas of public law. The methods covered span over experimental studies, observational studies, and the use of machine learning to predict or classify legally relevant behaviour.

21 July 2021

14.00–15.30 Administrative Law

Christoph Engel
General Administrative Law

Laurence O’Hara
Police Law

15.30–16.00 Coffee Break

16.00–17.30 Constitutional Law

Pascal Langenbach
Fundamental Rights

Yoan Hermstrüwer
Institutional Law

22 July 2021

14.00–15.30 Empirical Methods

Frederike Zufall
Operationalizing Legal Assessment: Approaches and Lessons from an NLP Perspective

Christoph Engel
Lucky You: Your Case is Heard by a Seasoned Panel – Panel Effects in the German Constitutional Court

15.30–16.00 Coffee Break

16.00–17.30 Experimental Methods

Pascal Langenbach
Fair Governance with Humans and Machines

Yoan Hermstrüwer
School Choice with Consent: An Experiment

The workshop will take place in a virtual setting and is open for any member of the Max Planck Law network who is interested in participating. Those outside the Max Planck Law network will be admitted on a discretionary basis. Knowledge of basic economics, psychology, computer science, or statistics is helpful but not a requirement for participating in the workshop.

Register below by 17:00 CEST on 13 July 2021


The event is finished.


21 - 22 Jul 2021


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