Theorizing Behavioral Law and Economics: A Defense of Evolutionary Analysis and the Law

Behavioral law and economics (BLE) provides a steady stream of empirical evidence that counters the predictions of law and economics. Despite this research and data, however, many theorists argue that BLE ultimately fails because it posits no underlying theory. This Note argues that perspectives from evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, and the brain sciences can provide the missing motivational theory for BLE’s empirical findings. The Note also examines the implications a more consistent and reasoned consideration of evolutionary analysis and the law (EA) has for our legal regime. In theorizing BLE and defending EA, this Note aims to show how evolutionary analysis can supplant law and economics in those instances where the latter’s predictions prove false and its incentive structure fails to motivate behavior.