On Tuesday, Haifa University’s Law and Markets Forum hosted the Behavioral Analysis of Law: Markets, Institutions, and Contracts conference. This was a wonderful event, well worth the trip to Israel. Organizer Avishalom Tor did a fabulous job putting together the conference, matching up papers with commenters, and making sure that everyone had a good time.
The papers covered a wide range of topics and methodologies. For example, Eyal Zamir, of Hebrew University, presented his paper on Notions of Fairness and Contingent Fees (commentary by Ronen Perry of Haifa), Zamir’s second study on people’s preferences regarding attorney’s fees with co-author Ilana Ritov. Alon Harel, also of Hebrew University, presented his research on whether the Probability of Being Pivotal Affects Voting Decisions (commentary by Alan Miller of Haifa). I had not seen either set of presenters or commenters in action before, so I very much enjoyed the in-person show.
Yuval Feldman of Bar Ilan was the co-author on two papers presented at the conference, one on Legal Uncertainty and Authenticity, with Shahar Lifshitz, also of Bar Ilan, and another with Orly Lobel, of University of San Diego, on Reporting Illegality (commentary by Faina Milman-Siva of Haifa). Sadly, I had to duck out to teach a class during Orly’s presentation, but I understand it generated an exceptionally lively discussion, particularly their findings on gender and whistle-blowing. Luckily, I was there for the Lifshitz-Feldman presentation and Yehuda Adar’s very thoughtful commentary.
Daphna Lewinson-Zamir, of Hebrew University presented her research on Outcome Assessment, with commentary by Oren Gazal-Ayal of Haifa, and Amir Licht, of Herzliya Radziner presented his research on Expanded Rationality, with commentary by Omer Kimhi of Haifa. Finally, Claire Hill (University of Minnesota) who it was great to see again after so many years, presented her research on Subprime Investors, with commentary by Adi Ayal of Bar Ilan.
For me, the conference was also an opportunity to catch up with old friends and see their current projects, and to make new friends who are doing interesting and innovative work. The stars of the show, though, had to be the Haifa faculty, who did most of the commentary, kept the discussion lively, and gave up their presentation slots to make room for others. As an example, Tal Zarsky began the day as a commenter at 9:00 a..m., ended the day at about 8:00 p.m. with a presentation of his own paper with Shmuel Becher on The Law of Open Doors (commentatary by Uri Benoliel, Academic Center of Law & Business Ramat Gan.), and spent the intervening time not only discussing the other papers, but teaching two classes.
I knew that we were in for an unusually robust day when Dean Niva Elkin-Koren opened the conference by discussing one of her own recent papers, rather than giving the usual, largely ceremonial, opening remarks. I was especially lucky with my commenter draw, Michal Gal, who offered thoughtful commentary on everything from antitrust law and enforcement to commodification, feminism, and the evolution of markets.
The conference program is downloadable here (Download Haifa program), and many of the conference drafts are available from the conference website. More discussion to come in the next few weeks about some of the other interesting folks I’ve met here, and the projects that they’re working on. For now though, I’m going to the spa and for a walk on the beach, if the weather stays sunny, to recover from an exhausting but exhilarating experience.