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Tipping Points and Viral Law

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is a James E. Beasley Professor of Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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3 Responses

  1. You may or may not find Kieran Healy’s recent post on organ donation opt-out policies relevant:

    http://crookedtimber.org/2008/01/14/opt-out-organ-donation-in-the-uk/

    His claim, if I understand it correctly, is that the organizational structures through which organ donations policies are implemented are critical in understanding how organs are allocated, and that the undue focus on the substance of the policies themselves is inadvisable.

    My comments on his post are here:

    http://www.medhumanities.org/2008/01/on-presumed-con.html

  2. Sarah Lawsky says:

    There is a lot of work, by legal academics, practitioners, and economists, about tax compliance and enforcement. Some of it is excellent. Certainly more work remains to be done, but that is true of perhaps all areas of the law. (Except constitutional law. I think that’s about played out.)

  3. Paul Gowder says:

    I wonder whether this is really a problem. There seems to be a pretty strong inverse relationship between the complexity and obscurity of a law and the number of people with an obligation to comply with it. If the DOE passes some regulation changing by .05mm the thickness of the lead in which fissile materials are to be stored, regulators can probably just telephone everyone who needs to comply. On the other hand, big sweeping changes that everyone has to comply with usually seem to be things like “no, really, stop paying women less for the same job,” and they get plenty of media coverage etc.

    The exceptions might be corporate and tax law (hence your examples), but the incentives seem to be aligned the right way in those cases: small legal changes are so financially consequential that it’s cost-effective for firms to pay specialists to track legal changes.

    So I think Judge Hercules need not worry about dissemination.

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