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October 5, 2015

Who Are You Calling Irrational?

In this book review, Kovvali discusses and critiques certain philosophical underpinnings of "nudges." Nudges are small interventions that change the context in which decisions are made, thus encouraging individuals to make specific choices. Using an analogy to voting paradoxes, Kovvali shows that nudges exploit a type of irrationality that results when citizens attempt to reconcile inconsistent objectives, and concludes that while insights about irrationality are useful when government officials ask how to design an intervention, they often do not provide a convincing justification for why an intervention is needed.

August 31, 2015

Legal and Psychological Considerations in Adolescents' End-of-Life Choices

In this essay, Professor Wilson reflects on the manner in which the law treats adolescents who are faced with end-of-life decisions. She begins by surveying the legal framework underlying end-of-life choices at the state and federal levels. She then discusses two decisionmakers - adolescents and adults - and the behavioral traits and biases that animate each when end-of-life decisions arise. In doing so, Wilson draws upon a rich body of empirical work on human decisionmaking. Wilson concludes that placing end-of-life decisions solely in the hands of adolescents or adults can result in suboptimal choices. She proposes the use of a bioethical mediator to counteract biases, reduce disagreement, and assist all parties in reaching the best possible outcome. 

August 17, 2015

The Value of Uncertainty

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, the federal courts have heard arguments in disputes involving billions of dollars worth of securitized financial products—yet it is not clear that the federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction over these cases. In this Essay, Cathy Hwang and Professor Benjamin P. Edwards advance possible explanations for why parties to these disputes do not raise this possible jurisdictional defect, which casts light on potential values of uncertainty in litigation more generally.