Research Programmes
Behavioral Approaches to Contract and Tort


  • Erich Kirchler

    Guest lecture Professor Erich Kirchler: “Tax Psychology: Audits, Fines and Trust“

    Friday 29 September 2017 14.00 hours, Theil Building, room C1-5

    Prof. Erich Kirchler is Vice Dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Vice Head of Department for Economic Psychology, Educational Psychology and Evaluation.


Moreover, he acts as project manager of the SIT-TAX project, the acronym derives from Social Identity and Tax Compliance. Moreover, Erich Kirchler is reviewer at the ESF European Science Foundation and editor or on the editorial board of many leading journals such as Economic Psychology, Journal of Economic Psychology, Journal für Betriebswirtschaft, Psychology and Economics and Economics Research International.

Erich Kirchler has published numerous articles and books, many of them in the context of the psychology of taxpaying. His expertise in the area of tax compliance is highly acknowledged by the scientific community. Recently in 2007, his book on ‘The Economic Psychology of Tax Behaviour’ was published by the Cambridge University Press. Erich Kirchler is also a SFB project member. The research interests in economic psychology and psychology and taxes fit perfectly well to DIBT teaching and research program. Within the Doctoral Program, he will encourage and support young researchers in research area’s 1 (Determination of Taxable Profit), 2 (Locational Decisions) and 3 (EU Tax for Businesses).

In his lecture, Erich Kirchler will discuss the topic, “Tax Psychology: Audits, Fines and Trust”.


News 2016

Guest Lecture Prof. Ian Ayres: Carrots and Sticks: More Than Just Setting the Right Price

Thursday 23 June, 16.00-16.45, Erasmus Paviljoen, Erasmus University Rotterdam (no registration required)

On 23th of June 2016, the renowned Law and Economics scholar Ian Ayres (Yale) will visit Erasmus University Rotterdam as a guest of the BACT and DOPAS programs. He will give a guest lecture as part of the International Lecture Series of Public Administration and Sociology. The presentation will start at 16.00, after which there will be time for some questions from 16.45-17.15, afterwards there will be time for drinks until 18.00.

Prof. Ayres is a lawyer and an economist. He is the William K. Townsend Professor at Yale Law School, the Anne Urowsky Professorial Fellow in Law, and a Professor at Yale's School of Management. He has been a columnist for Forbes magazine, a commentator on public radio’s Marketplace, and a contributor to the New York Times' Freakonomics Blog. Professor Ayres’ research has been featured on Prime Time Live, Oprah and Good Morning America and in Time and Vogue magazines. He has published 11 books (including the New York Times best-seller, Super Crunchers) and over 100 articles on a wide range of topics. 

Abstract: Could you lose weight if you put $20,000 at risk? Would you finally set up your billing software if it meant that your favourite charity would earn a new contribution? If you have ever tried to meet a goal and came up short, the problem may not have been that the goal was too difficult or that you lacked the discipline to succeed. From giving up cigarettes to increasing your productivity at work, you may simply have neglected to give yourself the proper incentives. In his guest lecture “Carrot and Sticks: More than Just Setting the Right Price”, prof. Ayres applies the lessons learned from behavioural economics to introduce audience to the concept of “commitment contracts”: an easy but high-powered strategy for setting and achieving goals already in use by successful companies and individuals across America.

Upcoming workshop Experiments at the Crossroads of Law and Economics

Friday 8 July, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 14.30-17.00.

The series of workshops Experiments at the Crossroads of Law and Economics started in 2013 as a joint initiative of the Erasmus School of Economics, RILE, BACT and the Tinbergen Institute. Since 2013, this event is organized semi annually. Hereby we present the programme for the upcoming workshop. If you would like to attend this workshop, please send an email to 

Pre-advies 'Aansprakelijkheidsrecht en Maatmens'

Former BACT-director Willem van Boom recently published his preliminary advice report (‘preadvies’) for the VASR (Vereniging voor Aansprakelijkheids- en Schadevergoedingsrecht) together with Thijs Beumers and Marc Loth, titled “Aansprakelijkheidsrecht en maatmens”. The contribution of Beumers and Van Boom is about the use of the 'average man' in positioning and assessing the injured party. On the basis of two concrete examples – the ‘average consumer’ in the Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices on the one hand, and the personal injury victim suffering loss of earning capacity on the other hand – the authors examine who the ‘average injured man’ is, and also: why he is there.

Conference: Smart Mixes in Relation to Transboundary Harm

Friday 15 April 2016, 09.00-17.30, Erasmus University Rotterdam

On Friday April 15, the final conference of the 'Smart Mixes' project will be held at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The conference will seek to present the latest research results on how alternative modes of regulation (hybrid and private) and different forms of regulatory instruments (command-and-control, market-based, suasive) can complement the operation of international agreements. The conference aims at presenting and discussing: 1) the results of the ‘Smart Mixes’ project; and 2) the results of other research that has been conducted on mixes that have supplemented or could be considered for supplementing international environmental agreements. It also aims at identifying specific policy recommendations that can be based on these outcomes of research.

Confirmed speakers include: Prof. Jessica Green (NYU), Prof. Lars Gulbrandsen (Fridtjof Nansen Institute), Prof. Marjan Peeters (Maastricht University), Prof. Philipp Pattberg (VU University Amsterdam) and Prof. Linda Senden (Utrecht University).

PhD vacancies – EGSL Open Round Competition

For aspiring PhD students, spring brings interesting opportunities in terms of the 2016-2017 round of the Erasmus Graduate School of Law’s Open Round Competition. In this competition, applicants have the chance of earning a fully funded PhD student position at Erasmus School of Law. Applicants are required to submit  a research proposal that details the intended subject of their PhD, and an expert panel will select the most suitable candidates and proposals, who thus will be rewarded with a PhD student position on the subject of their own choosing. This makes the Open Round Competition an attractive option for talented young researchers with a background in law (or related disciplines).

BACT’s researchers are available for students who are considering to apply in the EGSL Open Round Competition (in case of matching research interests), to assist in their application, and as supervisor to their PhD project. Those considering an application that falls in BACT’s area of expertise are encouraged to contact Chris Reinders Folmer ( to explore the opportunities for collaboration.

Guest lecture by Prof. Jonathan Klick: The value of the right to exclude

Thursday 3 March, 15:00, Erasmus University Rotterdam, G2-26, registration required.

Property theorists have long deemed the right to exclude fundamental and essential for the efficient use and allocation of property. Recently, however, proponents of the progressive property movement have called into question the centrality of the right to exclude, suggesting that it should be scaled back to allow the advancement of more socially beneficial uses of property. Surprisingly, the debate between the opponents and detractors of the right to exclude is devoid of any empirical evidence. The actual value of the right to exclude remains unknown.

The Personal Injury Claims Process: Comparing Legal Cultures

On Thursday 3 March, Siewert Lindenbergh and Evelien Engelhard will present the results of their research 'The Personal Injury Claims Process: Comparing Legal Cultures' at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London.  

At a time when the personal injury claims process in England and Wales lurches from one controversy to another, it is timely to ask what lessons can be learnt from how personal injury claims are resolved elsewhere. This event presents the results of a detailed comparative investigation of the claims process in three legal systems, based on extensive interviews with practitioners in each. The three legal systems looked at are England and Wales, Norway and The Netherlands – three legal systems with contrasting traditions, liability laws and approaches to compensation for personal injury in general. The study shows that, though some aspects of the claims process are constant across national boundaries, there are pronounced differences in attitude which reflect – in varying degrees – differences in liability rules, procedural mechanisms, legal institutions and wider culture.

The research was conducted on behalf of the Institute for European Tort Law, Vienna, which teams up with the British Institute of International and Comparative Law for this event. The project was led by Ken Oliphant, former Director of the Vienna Institute, now Professor of Tort Law at the University of Bristol, in collaboration with teams of researchers at Cardiff University, the University of Bergen, and Erasmus University Rotterdam.

The event will take place at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London. The event starts at 16.00 and ends at 19.00, followed by a drinks reception.

Conference: From common rules to best practices in European Civil Procedure

Date: 25-26 February 2016
Venue: Erasmus University Rotterdam, campus Woudestein, Tokyo room (M1-17)
Fee: 50 EUR, 100 EUR if you wish to attend the conference dinner. (to register click here)

On 25 and 26 February 2016 a conference on the theme “From common rules to best practices in European Civil Procedure” will be held at Erasmus University Rotterdam. The conference is organised jointly by Prof. Xandra Kramer at Erasmus University Rotterdam and the Max Planck Institute for European, International and Regulatory Procedural Law in Luxembourg. The conference aims at bringing together experts in the field of civil procedure from the European Union and beyond, including academics, practitioners, legislators, and policy makers. It seeks to facilitate in-depth discussion and sharing of knowledge, practical experiences, and solutions, with the aim of reinforcing mutual trust and contributing to the further development of European civil procedure. For more information, click here. 

Interview Bernold Nieuwesteeg at BNR Nieuwsradio about cyber insurance and Internet of Things

Bernold Nieuwesteeg was invited by BNR Nieuwsradio (Business News Radio) to discuss the current Dutch cyber insurance market. The reason: recent research together with universities Leiden and Delft on the Dutch cyber insurance market for SMEs. According to Bernold the cyber insurance market is far from mature and it is still unclear whether insurance products will contribute to efficiency gains in the market. Also, he stressed that more research is needed to gather data and study efficient interventions in the market. 


News 2015

Workshop Experiments at the Crossroads of Law and Economics

December 15th 2015 saw a new instalment of the workshop Experiments at the Crossroads of Law and Economics, co-organized by BACT, the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics (RILE), the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), and the Tinbergen Institute. As in earlier meetings in this series, the workshop brought together researchers from a broad range of disciplines whose research focuses on the intersection of law and economics. During the meeting, Aurelien Baillon (ESE) presented a paper on methods to incentivize truth-telling about ‘shameful’ (i.e., illegal, unethical, and/or socially unacceptable) behaviours. Maximilian Kerk (RILE) presented research on sorting and coordination in mixed-motive situations, showing how in context of interactions with multiple interaction partners, people choose to concentrate their efforts on relationships with cooperative partners. Lastly, Ben Vollaard (Tilburg University) presented a field experiment on household waste sorting, which examined the question if short periods of enforcement can suffice to break habits surrounding waste disposal, while preserving intrinsic motivation to sort waste.

Inaugural lecture Peter Mascini

We are glad to announce the inaugural lecture of Peter Mascini. Mascini has been director of BACT since 2014 and has taken up the the chair of Empirical Legal Studies, at the Erasmus School of Law. The provisional title of the inaugural lecture is Behavioural Sociology of Law and Behavioural Law and Economics. Why We Need Less Purity Rather than More.

The date of the lecture will be Friday 11 March 2016 at 4 p.m. in the Aula of the EUR. We warmly invite you to attend the lecture.

Valedictory Lecture Astrid Stadler

Astrid Stadler was appointed professor in the Erasmus chair of Comparative Mass Litigation in August 2011. She also holds a chair in civil law, civil procedural law, comparative law and private international law at Konstanz University, Germany. She has extensive experience in the areas of comparative law and civil procedure law with its international and European aspects. Since the late 1990s her research has had a special focus on mass litigation. She has advised consumer organisations and the German and Austrian Government on these issues.

Valedictory Lecture: What' s wrong about the pooling of claims to fight against cartels?

Third-party funding of mass damages claims is a controversial issue and the Commission's Recommendation of 2013 tries to ban profit-oriented third party funders and group representatives. Apart from after-the-event insurance and contingency fee arrangements with lawyers, claimants can reduce litigations cost and procedural risks by selling and transferring their claims to companies specialized on the enforcement of damage claims based on profit-sharing agreement. Securities cases and follow-on cartel damage claims provide examples for innovative funding schemes. Unfortunately, courts in Europe have taken completely different approaches when dealing with this business models. Whereas the assignment has been accepted in a number of jurisdictions, German courts, in the famous cement cartel litigation recently decided that the transfer and pooling of damages claims to the Belgium plaintiff, Cartel Damage Claims, violates public policy and is legally void. This challenges the effective enforcement of such claims and raises some fundamental questions: Preparation of cartel damage litigation is complex, expensive and requires expertise - how are private claimants supposed to shoulder this task? Are courts willing to accept deterrence as an objective of damage claims? What are the necessary safeguards for defendants and adequate incentives for representatives in mass damage litigation?

Friday 29 January 2016, from 16.00 to 17.00 pm, in the Polak building (room 3-09) at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Attendance to the lecture is free of charge, but please note that registration is required. To register, please send an e-mail to Marianne Breijer (

Workshop: Smart Mixes in relation to Fishery and Oil Pollution Governance

On 7 and 8 October at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam, the workshop Smart Mixes in relation to Fishery and Oil Pollution Governance" was held. This was the second workshop organized under the umbrella of the research Project “Smart Mixes in relation to Transboundary Environmental Harm”, sponsored by Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. The workshop was co-organized by BACT and the Amsterdam Center for International Law (University of Amsterdam).

The workshop focused on how different governance instruments interact at different levels in addressing the transboundary environmental problems of oil pollution and overfishing. It was an interdisciplinary workshop, where lawyers specialized in international and environmental law, as well as sociologists, political scientists and practitioners engaged in a discussion on the interaction between key instruments used in practice in addressing the two aforementioned environmental problems. Debated topics included the concept of “smart mixes”, the balancing of universal vs. context-bound solutions, key methodological challenges, as well as the potential avenues for future research.

BACT researcher Jing Liu presented her research and BACT directors Michael Faure and Peter Mascini chaired this workshop.

Patrick C. Leyens recipient of research prize

On 22 September 2015, Prof. Dr. Patrick C. Leyens, LL.M. (London), affiliate at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, was awarded the research prize of the “Stiftung Kapitalmarktrecht für den Finanzstandort Deutschland” [Capital Market Law Foundation for the Financial Centre of Germany]. The 10,000 Euro prize recognizes outstanding efforts in the fields of capital markets law and financial regulation which serve to strengthen Germany’s position as a financial centre.

Leyens has received the prize for, inter alia, his monograph on the role of information intermediaries in capital markets (“Informationsintermediäre des Kapitalmarkts: Private Marktzugangskontrolle durch Abschlussprüfung, Bonitätsrating und Finanzanalyse”). The book was written under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Klaus J. Hopt, and was the basis of the post-doctoral lecture qualification (Habilitation) conferred on Leyens by the University of Hamburg in the spring of 2015. Employing a comparative, economic and interdisciplinary framework, his study lays the groundwork for a comprehensive theory charting the role of information intermediaries in capital markets. The book will be published as a volume of the series Jus Privatum by Mohr Siebeck, Tubingen. Prof. Dr. Patrick C. Leyens is Honorary Professor of Law and Economics at the Erasmus School of Law in Rotterdam.

Award at the MIT Climate Colab Competition

Proposal by Dirk Heine and Goran Dominioni awarded winner of the MIT Climate CoLab competition 2015, category Transportation. Heine and Dominioni, both PhD candidates in the European Doctorate in Law and Economics (EDLE) programme at Erasmus School of Law, developed together with three other researchers an economically and legally viable mechanism for internalizing marine emissions that makes polluters pay for climate damage caused by maritime emissions. They submitted their proposal to a MIT Climate CoLab contest where it won both the Judges’ Award and the Popular Choice Award in the category Transportation.

Each year, the Climate CoLab, a crowdsourcing platform hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), organizes various contests to tackle different aspects of climate change. The goal of the Climate CoLab is to use the collective intelligence of thousands of people from all around the world to address global climate change. Anyone can join the Climate CoLab community and participate. Community members are invited to submit and comment on proposals outlining ideas for what they think should be done about climate change. Experts evaluate the entries and select the finalists. Together experts and community members select the most promising proposals.

This year, a team including Dirk Heine and Goran Dominioni of the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics at Erasmus School of Law, participated in one of these contests. In the category Transportation, they proposed an economically and legally viable mechanism for internalizing marine emissions. The proposal is based on their working paper: D. Heine, S. Gäde, G. Dominioni, B. Martinez Romera and P. Pieters: ‘Drying Up Tax Havens - A Mechanism to Unilaterally Tax Maritime Emissions While Satisfying Extraterritoriality, Tax Competition and Political Constraints’. The idea is to make polluters pay for climate damage caused by maritime emissions by overcoming avoidance, legal, data and global coordination issues. A video of their pitch can be found here, click here to read more about the competition and the winning proposal.

Successful EALE conference for the EDLE

The yearly conference of the European Association of Law and Economics (EALE), held in Vienna from 16 to 19 September has been very successful for the European Doctorate in Law and Economics (EDLE). From the total number of presentations, 23 were by our current and alumni EDLE PhDs!

Serio Mittlaender Leme de Souza won the Göran Skogh Award for the best paper presented by a young scholar with his paper on “Retaliation, Remedies and Contracts”. Dirk Heine and Joé Rieff won the prize for best paper on tax competition with their paper on “The Effect of EU Member States’ Asymmetric Sizes on Personal Income Tax Competition”. Furthermore, Roger Van den Bergh received the “EALE Life time achievement award”.

Guest lecture Israel Gilead

On September 25, professor Israel Gilead, Bora Laskin professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, held a guest lecture titled ‘A pluralistic and integrative approach to the goals of tort law: efficiency and how it is related to freedom, equality, fairness and the common good – the balancing process’. In his presentation, professor Gilead dealt with three basic questions of tort law: what are its goals, how are they related to each other and how can and should they be balanced.

According to professor Gilead, the goals of tort law include efficiency, fairness and equality. Freedom (or autonomy) and the common good are sometimes considered as goals of tort law, yet others view them as instruments to promote other values. These goals can overlap, but can also conflict with each other. An example is a recent decision of the Israeli Supreme Court, which ruled that all awards for loss of earnings to children under the age of eighteen should be assessed according to the average salary, regardless of the child’s earning capacity. This may strengthen equality, for example, yet many would regard this as unfair. Situations like these raise the question how the goals tort law pursues should be balanced. Different approaches can be adopted in this respect; for example, efficiency could be the dominant goal of tort law, yet constrained by considerations of fairness, equality and freedom. Professor Gilead concluded that none of the goals should be set aside, but that tort law should concentrate on the goals it can effectively achieve. The presentation was followed by comments from professor Louis Visscher and a discussion.


Harriët Schelhaas Professor of Private Law at EUR

As of 1 September 2015, Harriët Schelhaas will be joining Erasmus University as Professor of Private Law. Schelhaas was associated with the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law at Utrecht University, where she obtained a PhD for a comparative law study into penalty clauses. From 2005, Harriët Schelhaas was a lawyer (latterly as counsel) at Stibbe in the Commercial Litigation department. In that role, she advised and conducted proceedings on a wide range of subjects relating to the law of obligations.

Her research at Erasmus School of Law will be conducted within the research programme Behavioural Approaches to Contract and Tort and will primarily focus on (international) commercial contract law.

Workshop Experiments at the Crossroads of Law and Economics

On July 9, the workshop ‘Experiments at the Crossroads of Law and Economics’ took place, which was co-organized by BACT, the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics (RILE), the Erasmus School of Economics, and the Tinbergen Institute. The workshop brought together researchers from a broad range of disciplines, whose research focuses on the intersection of law and economics. BACT researcher Marco Fabbri presented an observational study (with co-authors Paolo Nicola Barbieri and Maria Bigoni) on how the presence of children affects people’s norm compliance, thereby providing evidence that people may be less likely to commit certain traffic violations when observing children are present. BACT researcher Chris Reinders Folmer presented research (with co-authors Tessa Haesevoets and Alain Van Hiel) that examined the effectiveness of financial compensation as a tool for restoring competence and integrity violations. The study revealed financial compensation to be effective only in case of competence violations, while in case of integrity violations, overcompensating the cost of the violation was unsuccessful. BACT visiting professor Christoph Engel presented a test of the Coase theorem. The research (with Oren Bar-Gill) showed that the theorem may even hold in the absence of property rights. Robert Dur (Erasmus School of Economics and Tinbergen Institute) presented a field experiment (with Ben Vollaard) on the impact of lamination on public urination. The results of this study (performed at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam) indicated motion sensor light in particular to be an effective tool for reducing public urination at this location.

Farewell Symposium Professor Giard

On June 15th, a symposium was held at Erasmus University to commemorate the farewell of Raimond Giard. During the symposium, a range of distinguished speakers celebrated Raimond’s pioneering contributions to the field, which have helped to inspire recent developments in liability law.

During the symposium, speakers discussed three major statements that summarize Giard’s recent work. Ruth de Bock and Diederik Aben discussed the statement: the administration of justice is a risky enterprise, how can the establishment of truth best be safeguarded? Their contributions criticized the crucial role of the narrative in the administration of justice, underlining how a compelling (but not truthful) narrative may colour judgment and interpretation of cases, and impact the verdict. In line with Giard’s work, Ruth de Bock underlines the need for an exhaustive investigation of facts, pointing at better training and incorporation of multiple perspectives as possible avenues toward improvement. Diederik Aben, from the perspective of criminal law, argued for narratives to be treated as hypotheses – to be judged not on the basis of intuitive plausibility, but to be tested through fact finding against alternative hypotheses.

Willem van Boom and Dineke de Groot discussed the statement that just verdicts are only possible if judges truly understand the question upon which they decide. Willem van Boom’s contribution highlighted the many situations in which the “objective” truth is impossible to determine and only the probabilities of outcomes are known. He questioned to what extent that should preclude a judge deciding completely for or against the plaintiff. Dineke de Groot echoed these sentiments, and advocated greater participation of plaintiff and defendant in the resolution of such cases. Thereby, she argues, parties gain insight into each other’s perspectives on the incident, and work on its restoration – thereby enabling a resolution that bypasses the difficulties of establishing the objective truth.

Arno Akkermans discussed the statement that the causal selection of the plaintiff is no legitimate basis for assessing the causal relationship. In his contribution, Akkermans addressed Giard’s work on how biases colour plaintiffs’ accounts, and how legal systems should be shaped to counter this. He highlighted how this adversarial context can produce harmful and antitherapeutic consequences for victims in the domain of personal injury litigation, which may be inflated by initiatives to counter bias (e.g., reliance on expert representatives). For a better alternative Akkermans referenced proposed legislation that reduces parties’ reliance on representatives, and instead refers judgment to a decision maker who possesses both juridical and medical expertise – thereby reducing bias, costs, and antitherapeutic effects.

The final presentation of the day was provided by Raimond Giard himself, who concisely summarized his important work on bias and causality. Raimond outlined how bias may shape parties’ perceptions of the causation of incidents, and how subjective experiences of causality therefore may differ from actual evidence thereof. Thereby, he identifies the risks of basing judgments on reasoning and intuition, underlining instead the importance of accurate, empirical testing of causal relationships, through methods designed to counter bias who possesses both juridical and medical expertise – thereby reducing bias, costs, and antitherapeutic effects.

The day concluded with a thoughtful speech by Siewert Lindenbergh, who commended Raimond for his important contributions to the methodology in problems of liability, particularly in light of his late entry in the legal domain as a former medical practitioner.

Valedictory lecture prof. Hodges

On June 12th, Oxford Professor Christopher Hodges ended his tenure at BACT with his valedictory lecture. Building upon the principles he advanced in his inaugural address, the lecture addressed the importance of integrating theories of regulation, enforcement, compliance and ethics for shaping ethical regulation. Hereby, the lecture sought to provide an overarching perspective on how this question is addressed by a range of disciplines – to thereby identify novel avenues for enhancing compliance and redressing failures.

In his analysis of this question, Professor Hodges highlighted the contrast between on the one hand the extensive use of principles of deterrence as foundation of ethical regulation, and on the other hand, the limited evidence for the effectiveness of this

approach. For an alternative approach, his analysis integrated principles from regulatory and enforcement theory, psychology, and restorative justice to illuminate how intrapersonal (e.g., moral values) and interpersonal processes (e.g., organizational culture) can be mobilized to promote ethical behaviour. Therefrom, Professor Hodges advances an approach in which business and regulators participate to shape protocols on ethical behaviour, to thereby enable fair and effective systems for applying laws, and for addressing noncompliance. This approach aims to ensure ethical regulation that is widely supported, and closely integrated within organizational culture – so that internal norms and values can be mobilized to enhance compliance.

Guest lecture Yun-Chien Chang

On June 5th, Yun-Chien Chang, associate research professor at the Institutium Iurisprudentiae, Academia Sinica in Taiwan, held a guest lecture entitled “The Role of Attorney Experience in Torts Litigation: An Empirical Study”. During this guest lecture, the findings on the effect of attorneys’ and judges’ experience in litigation, especially regarding claims for non-pecuniary damages (pain and suffering) were elaborated on. The lecture was followed by a lively discussion.

Prof. Patrick Leyens LL.M. appointed professor of Empirical Legal Studies

At Erasmus School of Law Prof. Leyens will be responsible for courses in the area of corporate law and economics.

Among other activities, he will supervise master theses and will be the promoter of PhD candidates in the EDLE programme within the field of comparative corporate and commercial law as well as securities regulation. As a member of the Chair of Empirical Legal Studies he will contribute to fostering the understanding of the operation of the law within different jurisdictions and under different economic conditions. His current research concerns the role of gatekeepers of financial markets, including statutory auditors, rating agencies and financial analysts (funded by the German Research Foundation, 2013-2015).

Prof. Leyens studied law at the University of Cologne (state exam 1999), earned a master degree in international business law at Queen Mary University of London (LL.M. 2000) and completed the German Referendariat (bar exam 2006). For his doctoral thesis on corporate law and economics he received several awards, including the prestigious Otto-Hahn-Medal from the Max Planck Society (dr. iur. 2006). He was the Jun. Prof. of Private Law and Economic Analysis of the Law at the Institute of Law and Economics, University of Hamburg (2007-2013). He has served as an 2 |

adviser to the German Ministry of Finance and the German Federal Parliament (2007-2009). Strong ties with ESL, especially RILE, were built up as the University of Hamburg Director of the joint doctoral programme EDLE (2009-2012) and as a lecturer of the joint master programme EMLE (2007 to date).

The professorship Erasmus Chair of Empirical Legal Studies is intended to be held alternately by distinguished scientists with an international reputation and extensive experience in the empiricism of law. The relatively new field of ‘empirical legal studies’ focuses on the quantitative study of private law (among other fields of law). It is an important chair within the research programme Behavioural Approaches to Contract and Tort.


Research Excellence Initiative Grant awarded- Shifting from Welfare to Social Investment States: Privatization of Work-Related Risk Control (2015-2019)

Michael Faure, Peter Mascini and Romke van der Veen (Sociology, FSW) were awarded a Research Excellence Initiative grant by the Board of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The backdrop for this project is that European states have retrenched and activated their social security systems during the last few decades. The latter implies that private actors (i.e. employers and employees) take major responsibility for the control of work-related risks (i.e. the risk of dropping out of work because of unemployment, disability, or sickness) and no longer fall back on the state as prime or ultimate caretaker. The first research question is whether state officials, employers and employees adopt new roles, identities and working practices in the implementation and enforcement of work-related risk control, and if so, how? The second research question is to what extent a decline in public compensation of work-related damage has been accompanied by behavioural adjustments by all parties involved in litigation, and why. The overall goal of this program is to analyze from a multidisciplinary, international comparative perspective the alleged shift in the allocation of responsibilities from public to private actors as far as the control of work-related risks is concerned and to derive policy implications from these insights that can facilitate employees better to strengthen their labour market position. The project entails a collaboration between BACT and the Sociology department of the Faculty of Social Sciences. BACT members Siewert Lindenbergh, Sharon Oded, Anne-Sofie VandenBerghe as well as Niels Philipsen and a to be recruited postdoc will also participate in the program.

Peter Mascini and Judith van Erp edited a special issue for Recht der Werkelijkheid on Regulatory Governance

Peter Mascini and Judith van Erp edited a special issue for Recht der Werkelijkheid on Regulatory Governance Martijn Scheltema and Jing Liu published in this issue. Nowadays, in order to regulate the economy, state, business, and civil society actors are interacting in countless governance networks at different levels and in different contexts. Such networks are complex and may be confronted with innumerous problems: actors may be uncertain or distrustful about the goals, interests, intentions, and competences of other actors, and of the division of tasks, and responsibilities, while the alignment and coordination within and between networks may fall short. Besides, policy networks often contain new instruments, actors, responsibilities as well as new relationships between actors or networks, while at the same time they may stick to established interests and taken-for-granted ideas. Clear answers on how to deal with these complexities and tensions are the exception rather than the rule. These experiments with governance raise practical as well as academic questions. This special issue addresses two sets of questions in particular. The first set of questions concerns the manner in which regulating governmental agencies adapt to their changing political and institutional environment. The second set of questions addressed in this special issue concern the functioning of new governance instruments.

Articles written by BACT researchers in this issue of Recht der Werkelijkheid: "The government’s roles in transnational forest governance" by Liu Jing, and " The need for an integrated comparison of the effectiveness of international sustainable forestry, coffee and cocoa initiatives" by Martijn Scheltema.


News 2014

Upcoming BACT seminar: Professor Hans-W. Micklitz (EUI) - ‘From socio legal research to behavioural economics – where is the added value?’

Friday 19 December 2014, Professor Micklitz (Head of the Department of Law at the EUI, Professor of Economic Law) will give a presentation entitled ‘From socio legal research to behavioural economics – where is the added value?’

This BACT seminar will take place from 10 to 12 am. If you would like to attend the seminar, please send an e-mail to Ilja Tillema (

Pieter Desmet wins best OB-paper award from the Academy of Management

April 2014 - It’s with great pleasure that we can announce that Pieter Desmet has won a best paper award from the Academy of Management, Organizational Behaviour Division. Pieter received the Best Paper with Outstanding Practical Implications Award for his paper “Prophets vs. Profits: How Market Competition influences Leaders’ Disciplining Behaviour”.

This award is given by the Academy of Management's OB division for the empirical or conceptual paper that offers the most significant implications for the practice of management in the field of Organizational Behaviour.

The committee members for example applauded the paper's potential to shape contemporary societal debates, business practices and government policies regarding some of the key causes for the current financial crisis (and, if not resolved, potentially also the causes for the next crisis…).

The award will be formally presented at the OB Division Awards Celebration and Reception event at the Academy of Management Meeting in Philadelphia in August.

Apart from representing a great honour for Pieter himself, the award also constitutes a recognition of BACT’s mission to harbor and invest in research that not only has high academic impact, but also shapes the societal debate.

Visiting Scholar Adam Badawi

April 2014 - From 22 March – 5 April Adam Badawi stayed at the RILE as ESL Distinguished International Visitor in view of the research programme Behavioural Approaches to Contract and Tort. He will also take part in the Joint Seminar in Maastricht (27&28 March).

Adam Badawi is Associate Professor of Law at Washington University Law school.
Adam Badawi is an expert in commercial and corporate law. His research includes theoretical work on contracts and the theory the firm and empirical projects on the content of contracts and on how corporate litigation affects equity prices.

His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Michigan Law Review, the Washington University Law Review, the George Mason Law Review, the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, the Yale Journal on Regulation, the Journal of Corporation Law, the NYU Journal of Law and Business, and the Berkeley Business Law Journal. He has taught at the University of Queensland and will be a visiting scholar at Erasmus University in Rotterdam in the spring of 2014. Prior to joining the faculty in 2010, Professor Badawi served as a Bigelow Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He received his Ph.D., JD, and BA from the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Badawi practiced as a litigator in the San Francisco office of Munger, Tolles & Olson for two and a half years and he clerked for the Hon. Michael W. McConnell of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.


News 2013

Prof. mr. dr. L.T. (Louis) Visscher is appointed professor of Legal Economic Analysis of Tort and Damages
December 2013 - Prof. mr. dr. L.T. (Louis) Visscher is appointed professor of Legal Economic Analysis of Tort and Damages per December 1, 2013.

This chair fits seamless in the research programme Behavioural Approaches to Contract and Tort (BACT), one of the research focal points of Erasmus School of Law. The chair also strengthens the Law and Economics teaching in the Erasmus Mundus recognized programmes European Master in Law and Economics (EMLE) and European Doctorate in Law and Economics (EDLE). The chair thereby contributes to the international and interdisciplinary approach to law which ESL advocates.

Specialist tort law with broad interest
Visscher graduated in economics (1993) and law (1994, cum laude) at Erasmus University Rotterdam. In 2005 he defended his PhD on a Law and Economics Analysis of Dutch Tort Law at this university. Visscher teaches, among others, the bachelor course 'Rechtseconomie' and the EMLE course 'Economic Analysis of Torts and Insurance'. He also regularly gives guest lectures within and outside the EUR.
His publications mostly concern tort law and the law of damages, but he is also interested in contract law, insurance law, consumer law, harmonization of law and procedural law.

Mr.drs.-programme and RILE
Prof. mr. dr. Visscher is coordinator of the 'Mr.drs.-programma voor economie en rechten', the study programme with which talented and motivated students can graduate in six years in both economics and law. During his coordinatorship, 300 students have successfully completed the programme and at this moment, about 450 students are enrolled in the programme.
Furthermore, Visscher is director of the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics (RILE), general programme coordinator of the research group ‘Liability and Insurance’ of the Ius Commune Research School, and editor of the journals Aansprakelijkheid, Verzekering & Schade (AV&S), Ars Aequi Kwartaalsignaal and the European Review of Law and Economics

Peter Mascini Program Director BACT and Chair Empirical Legal Studies
December 2013 -As of December 2013, I will join Willem van Boom and Michael Faure as Program Director of BACT for 0.6 fte (I will continue to work in the Sociology department as Associate Professor for 0.4 fte). I will occupy myself with the daily supervision of the research program, while the three of us will set out the strategy of the program. Informally, I have already made an exciting start as a new member of BACT by helping to recruit two excellent postdocs, who will start working with us in a few months. Like my Chair, these two postdoc positions are financed from BACT’s Research Excellence Initiative (REI) grant. However, as some of you may know, my ties with BACT go back much longer. Much to my enjoyment, I have commented and presented a few times in BACT seminars and I have participated in several conferences organized by BACT. Siewert Lindenbergh and I have co-authored two chapters in volumes on Civilology, edited by Willem van Boom and others, and I have recently collaborated with Michael Faure and others in applying for a KNAW grant. Hence, I was already familiar with BACT before being officially appointed, and BACT was already familiar with me. I have decided to apply for this Chair because I like the open-mindedness of BACT and its interdisciplinary approach, while the content of BACT’s research program fits my own research agenda very well. As Program Director, I hope to broaden the scope of the research program, which will be aided by my disciplinary background as sociologist and my professional network in this field. It is my goal to contribute to a vibrant, creative, and stimulating research climate. As Chair, I will continue my own empirical research into the legitimization, implementation, and enforcement of contemporary laws and regulations in changing social contexts. I will focus on the mutual interactions between the different actors involved in these activities. I aim to give this Chair a rather classic and timeless substance by placing it within the research tradition of the Sociology of Law. This means that I will start from the perspective that law does not stand above or outside society but is an inherent part of it, that informal norms play just as important a role in the ordering of society as laws do, and that laws cannot be mechanically applied; law in the books is different from law in practice. I will be working in L7-103 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays and in T15-42 on Mondays and Wednesdays. I very much look forward to collaborating with you!

EDLE PhD Defence - Claudio Tagliapietra
November 2013- Next month Claudio Tagliapietra will hold his defence on 'A threshold hypothesis of institutional change – collective action in the Italian Alps during the 13th – 19th centuries'.

Date and time: 2 December 2013, 11.30 hours
Place: Senaatszaal, Woudestein Campus, Rotterdam
Promoter: Prof. Dr. Klaus Heine and Prof. Dr. Marco Casari

Academic positions at the Law Faculty, National University of Singapore - Seeking expertise in Environmental Law
November 2013 - The National University of Singapore (NUS) was recently named the top university in Asia in the 2013/2014 QS World University rankings. NUS aims to engage in “high-impact research that advances the boundaries of knowledge and contributes to the betterment of society”. The NUS Faculty of Law has positioned itself as Asia’s Global Law School, an institution dedicated to providing legal education that is comparative, international and multi-disciplinary . The Law Faculty is currently looking to hire law academics with expertise in environmental law, especially in areas related to Climate Change, to strengthen its diverse team of Faculty members working under the banner of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Environmental Law (APCEL) – one of the founding members of the IUCN network of environmental law centres.

Apart from teaching and engaging in research in environmental law, academic Faculty members are also expected to contribute to developing APCEL’s environmental law-related capacity-building programmes. Faculty members are also generally expected to teach in at least one of the core curriculum courses, e.g. torts, contracts, property, criminal law, evidence.

* High proficiency in English, with a track record of publications with reputable publishers and journals
* Relevant post-graduate law qualifications
* A professional and personal interest in environmental law issues in Asia and, preferably, the ASEAN region
* A team player interested in interdisciplinary legal education for undergraduate and post-graduate students

For further inquiries, please contact APCEL's Director, Assoc Prof LYE Lin-Heng ( or Prof Alan Tan, Chair, Faculty Search Committee (

Resolving mass disputes
ADR and Settlement of Mass Claims
Edited by Christopher Hodges and Astrid Stadle

November 2013 - The landscape of mass litigation in Europe has changed impressively in recent years, and collective redress litigation has proved a popular topic. Although much of the literature focuses on the political context, contentious litigation, or how to handle cross-border multi-party cases, this book has a different focus and a fresh approach.

Taking as a starting-point the observation that mass litigation claims are a ‘nuisance’ for both parties and courts, the book considers new ways of settling mass disputes. Contributors from across the globe, Australia, Canada, China, Europe and the US, point towards an international convergence of the importance of settlements, mediation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). They question whether the spread of a culture of settlement signifies a trend or philosophical desire for less confrontation in some societies, and explore the reasons for such a trend.

Raising a series of questions on resolving mass disputes, and fuelling future debate, this book will provide a challenging and thought-provoking read for law academics, practitioners and policy-makers.

Save the date: Conference “Nudging and beyond: current applications and new perspectives on behavioural insights”
May 2013 – Following the success of Thaler & Sunstein’s “Nudge”, academics and policy makers alike have increasingly directed attention to behavioural insights in conducting research and to its potential role in designing more effective policies. Some government agencies have even set up specialized task forces with prominent names such as the British “Behavioural Insights Team” to apply insights from behavioural economics and psychology in public policy making.

New behavioural insights keep surfacing everyday on how people react to laws, how judges make decisions and how even basic economic behaviour is guided by less tangible motives such as trust. These new outcomes, in turn, also provide interesting challenges for policy makers. Still, many crucial questions remain unanswered.

Therefore, the BACT research group is organizing the conference “Nudging and beyond: current applications and new perspectives on behavioural insights”. This conference aims not only at bringing together policy makers and academics to enhance their understanding of current applications of behavioural insights in policy making but also at presenting new findings and perspectives from expert behavioural scientists.

The Erasmus school of Law is proud to host eminent experts from both the side of academia and policy makers (national and international) to present and share their ideas with Cass Sunstein, professor of law at Harvard Law School and one of the authors of “Nudge”.

Gerhard Wagner at Humboldt University of Berlin
April 2013 – Gerhard Wagner has changed his Bonn professorship for the chair for German Civil Law, Commercial Law and Economics at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany. In 2009, Gerhard Wagner was appointed to the part-time Erasmus Chair of Fundamentals of Private Law, at the Erasmus School of Law.

Inaugural lecture Alessio Pacces ‘The future in Law and Finance’
April 2013 – On 26 April 2013 Alessio Pacces, who holds the chair of Law and Finance, gave his inaugural lecture ‘The Future in Law and Finance’. This endowed chair was established in the context of the Tinbergen tenure track program.

Prior to entering academia, Dr. Pacces had a career in financial policymaking, working first for the Italian Securities Authority and then for the Italian Central Bank where he was senior researcher in Law and Economics until 2007. In January 2008, Alessio Pacces defended at the EUR a PhD on an important Law and Finance subject, the Law and Economics of control powers in public companies cum laude. Alessio Pacces has published extensively in the fields of economic analysis of corporate law, corporate governance, and the economics of (financial) regulation.

PhD thesis defence Weiqiang Hu
April 2013 – On 25 April 2013 Weiqiang Hu defended his PhD thesis ‘An Economic Analysis of the Regulatory Compliance Defence’ (supervisors: Willem van Boom en Michael Faure). The full text of the summary can be downloaded here.

PhD thesis defence Alejandra Martinez
April 2013 – On 25 April 2013 Alejandra Martinez defended her PhD thesis ‘The Law and Economics of Eco-labels’ (supervisors: Marco Lamandini en Michael Faure). The full text of the summary can be downloaded here.

Firm Commitment: Why the Corporation is Failing Us and How to Restore Trust in It
April 2013 - The corporation is one of the most important and remarkable institutions in the world. It affects all our lives continuously. It feeds, entertains, houses and, employs us. It generates vast amounts of revenue for those who own it and it invests a substantial proportion of the wealth that we possess. But the corporation is also the cause of immense problems and suffering, a source of poverty and pollution, and its failures are increasing. While governments are subject to repeated questioning and scrutiny, the corporation receives relatively little attention.

In this lecture, Professor Colin Mayer discussed his book Firm Commitment published by Oxford University Press in February 2013. It discusses how the corporation is failing us, why it is happening now, what are the consequences and what we should do to fix it. It sets out an agenda for reform which will re-establish the corporation as an institution that we value and trust.

Colin Mayer is the Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies and the former Dean of the Said Business School at the University of Oxford. He is an Ordinary Member of the Competition Appeal Tribunal and a Fellow of the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI). He has served on the editorial boards of several leading academic journals and assisted in establishing the prestigious networks of economics, law and finance academics in Europe at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and ECGI.

Inaugural lecture Prof. Neil Rickman, Chair Costs and Benefits of Regulation
March 2013 – On 21 March, Prof. Neil Rickman held his inaugural address 'Regulating legal costs: Praise or folly?' Neil Rickman, Professor of Economics and Research Director at the Department of Economics at the University of Surrey, was appointed part-time Chair Costs and Benefits of Regulation at Erasmus School of Law as per 1 July 2011.

In 2011, Neil Rickman joined the Erasmus School of Law interdisciplinary research team “Behavioural approaches to contract and tort”. His research and teaching focus is on costs and benefits of regulation within the master programme EMLE, the doctorate programme EDLE and the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics in general.

PhD thesis defences Meltem Bayramli and Vaina Karapanou
January 2013 – On 31 January 2013 Meltem Bayramli defended her PhD thesis 'Patent Strategies and R&D in Complex Product Industries' (supervisors: Klaus Heine and Vincenzo Denicolò).

On the same day, Vania Karapanou defended her thesis 'Towards a Better Assessment of Pain and Suffering Damages. A Proposal based on Quality Adjusted Life Years’ (supervisors: Louis Visscher and Michael Faure).

Alessio Pacces discusses Company Law Action Plan at the European Commission
January 2013 – On 23 January 2013, Alessio Pacces was invited by the European Commission to comment on the EU Action Plan on Company Law and Corporate Governance, which was published on 12 December 2012. He and other research members of the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) warned against the risks of over-regulating corporate governance in general. On the special topic of the corporate governance of banks, professor Pacces argued that shareholder empowerment is part of the problem, not of the solution. Creditors are in a better position to discipline bankers, so long as they are credibly committed not to ever benefit from a bailout. For more information, including the policy proposals, visit this page.