Roberto Galbiati



(Wednesday, 21st May 2008)

Title : Expressive Law and Economics: experimental evidence on the hidden side of formal rules

Download the presentation - 533.48 KB

Economic theories of legal compliance emphasize legal sanctions, while psychological and sociological theories stress the perceived legitimacy of law.
Somehow in the middle expressive law theorist in the ninties suggested that the law can change equilibria both by coordinating people beliefs about others' actions and by changing individual values. This has strong implications both for the design of legal rules and the theory of compliance. In this workshop we review the literature with particular emphasis on the empirical testing of expressive law theories. The focus will be on recent experimental literature trying to test the existence of an expressive function of formal rules and the channels thorugh wich formal rules affect individuals' behavior.

Bibliographical references :

Robert D. Cooter. 1998. "Expressive Law and Economics". Journal of Legal Studies

Iris Bohnet and Robert Cooter, "Expressive Law: Framing or Equilibrium Selection?" (March 9, 2001). Berkeley Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series. Paper 31.

Richard H. McAdams, Janice Nadler (2005) Testing the Focal Point Theory of Legal Compliance: The Effect of Third-Party Expression in an ExperimentalHawk/Dove Game  Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 2 (1) , WP version in SSRN :

Jean-Robert Tyran & Lars P. Feld, 2006. "Achieving Compliance when Legal Sanctions are Non-deterrent," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 108(1), pages 135-156

Galbiati Roberto and Pietro Vertova 2008 Obligations and cooperative behaviour in public good games. Games and Economic Behavior, Forthcoming

Bowles Sam and and Sung-Ha Hwang. Social preferences and public economics: Mechanism design when social preferences depend on incentives. Journal of Public Economics (forthcoming)

Cass R. Sunstein. On the Expressive Function of Law University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 144, No. 5 (May, 1996), pp. 2021-
2053 - link:



(Monday, 18th May 2009)

Title : Natural and Field Experiments to Test the Effects of Insitutions on Behavior

In the last decade field and natural experiments have been the benchmark for empirical research. In this workshop we will see how field and natural experiments have been used to test the causal effects of institutions. To illustrate the main issues we will focus on the test of the deterrence hypothesis, the main behavioral hypothesis at the basis of law and economics research.

Bibliographical references :

Uri Gneezy and Aldo Rustichini.  “A Fine Is a Price”. Journal of Legal Studies, January 2000, Vol. 29, No. 1: pp. 1-17

Francesco Drago,  Roberto Galbiati and Pietro Vertova  "The Deterrent Effects of Prison Evidence from a Natural Experiment". Journal of Political Economy  2009, 117(2), pp. 257-280

Esther Duflo, Rachel Glennerster and Michael Kremer. Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit. in T. Paul Schults, and John Strauss (eds.) Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier Science Ltd.: North Holland, 2007 Vol. 4, pp. 3895-62

Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson and Simon Johnson “The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical InvestigationAmerican Economic Review, 91, pp. 1369-1401.