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Ellman to speak on 'Intuitive Lawmaking'

April 06, 2009

Professor Ira Ellman, of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, will speak on "Intuitive Lawmaking" as part of the Spring 2009 series of Mathematics and Cognition Seminars.

The talk is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21, in room 510 of the Goldwater Center.

"Many legal rules require tradeoffs among competing parties who all have claims on finite resources," states the abstract on the talk. "Using child support as an example, we examine the judgments people make about such tradeoffs when asked to decide for themselves on the appropriate dollar amount of a child support order in a series of cases with varying facts. We find that their judgments in these cases exhibit a pattern that Ariely has called 'coherent arbitrariness.' Moreover, we find that differences between respondents in their resolution of individual cases can be predicted from their relative ratings of 20 different statements about the appropriate goals of child support rules."

Ellman is an Affiliate Professor of Psychology and a Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar. His current scholarly projects include an empirical investigation into how people make judgments about appropriate legal rules, and a book for Oxford University Press about the difficulties inherent in implementing family policy through family law. He is an affiliate faculty member of the Center for Child and Youth Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

Judy Nichols,
(480) 727-7895
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law