Empirical Tax Research in Germany Federal Government Plans to Establish New Institute (IfeS)

Tax research is among the lively fields of empirical interaction between law and economic sciences. One of the authors' faculty supervisor in the US, Jacob Goldin, quite literally made his career off of well-designed large scale field experiments in tax compliance research such as the one published in the National Tax Journal. German legal scholars also study tax compliance using experimental methods. Yet, there is still a dearth of large-scale datasets available for empirical tax research. This is why the German government has now resolved to establish a new institute for empirical tax research called Institut für empirische Steuerforschung (IfeS). Members...

Berkeley 12 – 0 Stanford International Pedigrees of Private Law Professors in Germany

The European Football Championship of 2021 is afoot. Many people flock to watch the games - especially today, as the German team competes against Hungary, just hours after German chancellor Merkel publically decried a discriminatory Hungarian law. On days like these, it is hard to know whether politics or football take center-stage. But there's yet another fascinating game that I happened to observe recently: In a paper that got published a few days ago in the German law journal Archiv für die civilistische Praxis ("Archive of Civil Law Studies"), I studied the world of German professors of private law and undertook "An Empirical Inquiry into their...

Continuity in the Federal Constitutional Court?

Abstract | The election of new judges to the German Federal Constitutional Court has seen multiple delays in recent years. While we observe increasing debates among politicians when choosing candidates for the bench the public’s opinion with regard to nominees seems to play a minor role. We used a survey-experiment to assess how the German public evaluates traits of judicial nominees. In this post we apply our findings to characteristics of current nominees who may follow on Andreas Voßkuhle and Johannes Masing. The results suggest that all nominees have traits which make them adequate successors of the leaving judges. Moreover, to enhance the courts public standing decision-makers should highlight the judicial qualities of nominees rather than...

Governing through the Primacy of Science

Abstract | German politicians trust science's primacy to fight COVID-19. From a regulatory perspective, however, this proves problematic insofar as science operates under deficient and dynamic empirical data, thereby making its proposals subject to constant change. Whilst this can be dangerous for legal certainty, prudentially transferring science's methods to regulation can make it ...

The Forbidden Tree of Knowledge France restricts predictive analytics for judicial decisions

The problem with new methods and sources of knowledge is that these can bring forth facts that do not always please all those involved. But to prohibit the pursuit for knowledge and insight is rather absurd in a transparent state at the latest after the Age of Enlightenment. In France this seems to be seen differently. In fact, France has recently adopted a law reforming the judicial system. Article 33 of the law has caused an international controversy. It reads literally: "Les données d'identité des magistrats et des membres du greffe ne peuvent faire l'objet d'une réutilisation ayant pour objet ou pour effet d'évaluer, d'analyser, de comparer ou de...

The Hindsight Bias On the problem of ex ante knowledge in negligence assessment ex post

Abstract: Judging negligence correctly is notoriously difficult once a catastrophic result is known to the individual making the judgement. Due to a phenomenon called hindsight bias, the events leading up to a specific outcome seem significantly more self-evident in hindsight than they did moving forward in time. In a forensic setting, judges are expected by law to ponder foreseeability ex ante, even though the result is presented in the file. Not only are legal practitioners typically unaware of the hindsight bias; disappointingly, empirical research suggests that even warning them of it does little to circumvent its effects. The main article is only...