Overcoming the mere heuristic aspirations of (functional)comparative legal research? An exploration into the possibilities and limits of behavioral economicsOvercoming the mere heuristic aspirations of (functional)comparative legal research? An exploration into the possibilities and limits of behavioral economics
Faculty of Law
9(2009):4, p. 1-32
University of Antwerp
This article explores the promises and pitfalls of behavioral economics for comparative legal research, in particular in view of what could be called the apparently mere heuristic aspirations of traditional comparative legal research. Starting from the well-known functional method of comparative law, the first part of the article draws attention to an important feature of most contemporary comparative legal research, that is, its remarkable lack of interest in empirical substantiation of its underlying claims and beliefs. Recently, this attitude has even been explicitly promoted by heuristically inclined' functional comparatists. The second part of the article explores to what extent behavioral economics could prove of assistance in overcoming' these mere heuristic aspirations. It is submitted that behavioral economics does have valuable insights to offer comparative legal research, notably as regards the empirical validation and (cultural) variability of the point of reference chosen.