We analyze theoretically and experimentally how features of proportionality analysis (PA) influence judicial decisions through behavioral effects. Subjects conduct a PA for cases that vary only in their framing, which nudges subjects to either support or oppose the act challenged as disproportional. We contrast three groups: administrative judges, law students, and non-law students. We find clear evidence of framing effects in some (but not all) contexts, as well as some differences between law and non-law students: (i) when the act’s purpose is framed as securing a gain (rather than avoiding a loss), non-law students were likelier to view the act as disproportional; conversely, (ii) when the act was framed as yielding a certain loss (rather than a certain gain), both law and non-law students were likelier to view it as disproportional. Our findings highlight the importance of framing but also the potentially debiasing effect of legal training.
We look forward to welcoming you on July 3-5, 2023 for our Annual Conference entitled "Islands and Ocean: Public Law in a Plural World." The conference will take place at the Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand. We will be announcing more details about the conference soon, including financial support to early career and global south scholars!