Models of Contract Law II
Are broad principles better than detailed rules?
We are currently engaged in further experimental research exploring the utility of broad principles. This research is funded by ARC Discovery Grant (DP0774419): Models of contract law: are broad principles better than detailed rules?
This project addresses a fundamental question about contract law that is also relevant to other fields of law. It tests experimentally the hypothesis that the law works better stated in the form of broad principles rather than detailed rules. This hypothesis is based on the results of Models of Contract Law I. It is controversial because it contradicts a widely held belief that the contrary is true.
The project aims to:
- replicate and extend Models of Contract Law I
- relate our findings on the utility of broad principles to research on the cognitive processes involved in complex, rule-based decision making by integrating features of a paradigm designed to explore a connectionist constraint satisfaction model of judicial decision making (Simon, 1998; Holyoak and Simon, 1999).
We are running or have completed 4 experiments:
- Experiment 1
The effect of law model on consensus and coherence formation among near-graduation law student decision-makers.
- Experiment 2
The effect of law model (including no law) on consensus among graduate business student decision-makers.
- Experiment 3
Replication of Holyoak and Simon (1999) using our MCL2 materials.
- Experiment 4
Replication of Experiment 3 with mid-degree law students who have completed Contracts.