Review of Behavioral Economics > Vol 5 > Issue 3-4

The Behavioral Economics of Behavioral Law & Economics

Todd J. Zywicki, George Mason University, USA,
Suggested Citation
Todd J. Zywicki (2018), "The Behavioral Economics of Behavioral Law & Economics", Review of Behavioral Economics: Vol. 5: No. 3-4, pp 439-471.

Publication Date: 31 Dec 2018
© 2018 T. J. Zywicki
Behavioral Economics
JEL Codes: D11D12D18D91
Credit cardssurchargingbehavioral law and economics


Open Access

This is published under the terms of CC-BY.

In this article:
1. Introduction
2. Case Studies in Behavioral Law & Economics and Consumer Finance
3. The Behavioral Economics of Behavioral Law & Economics
4. Conclusion


Behavioral Law and Economics (BLE) has loudly proclaimed its victory over traditional law and economics methodologies. Nowhere has this proclamation been so loud or self-certain as with respect to claims about consumer financial decision-making. Drawing on a set of casual observations styled as empirical proof, BLE scholars have called for a variety of regulatory interventions that are claimed to be necessary to protect consumers. But examining two detailed case studies here, one involving credit card usage by consumers and the other involving claims about consumer behavior in response to cash discounts and credit card surcharges, it is shown that these claims are simply incredible, in the sense that it is literally difficult to believe that unbiased scholars would find those studies to be even slightly persuasive. Possible explanations for this disconnect between the weakness of the underlying science and the widespread social acceptance of the theories by BLE scholars are discussed.



Review of Behavioral Economics, Volume 5, Issue 3-4 Special issue Paternalism: Articles Overiew
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.