Beacon Press: The Behavioral Code
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The Behavioral Code

The Hidden Ways the Law Makes Us Better…or Worse

Authors: Benjamin van Rooij, Adam Fine

Freakonomics for the law—a paradigm shifting examination of how law can use behavioral science to prevent misconduct

Why do some laws radically change behavior whereas others are consistently ignored and routinely broken? Our laws ban heroin and harshly punish drug offenders, yet the opioid epidemic rages on. Our laws set pollution standards for cars, and yet even after the VW emissions cheating scandal rocked the world, 97% of diesel cars still fail to meet the standards.

Drawing upon two decades of research, the authors reveal the behavioral code: the root causes and hidden forces that drive human behavior and our responses to society’s laws. By utilizing the behavioral code in law creation, we can create a fundamentally different approach to injustice and crime that is based in understanding human instincts—rather than relying on punishment to shape behavior.

Through revelatory and counterintuitive examples, The Behavioral Code catalyzes the conversation about how the law can effectively improve human conduct and respond to some of our most pressing issues today, from environmental damage to corporate malfeasance. The authors ride on Dutch trains to see how classical music is used to reduce crime in the Netherlands and they go into corporate boardrooms at Volkswagen and Wells Fargo to understand how our response to massive corporate misconduct has actually increased illegal practices. The Behavioral Code presents the first accessible analysis of behavioral jurisprudence that will fundamentally alter how we understand the connection between law and human behavior.
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“In an engaging, scientifically grounded fashion, van Rooij and Fine expertly link the findings of behavioral science with evidence of how people respond to laws, regulations, and legal sanctions. An excellent and urgent reminder of how behavioral science is essential to our understanding of law.”
—Robert B. Cialdini, author of Influence and Pre-Suasion

“Accessible, timely, and compelling, The Behavioral Code explores the vast literature concerning punishment and provides a blueprint for reforming the criminal justice system—one where we can better understand just how effective our laws may or may not be. A surprisingly refreshing read.”
—Erwin Chemerinsky, professor of law, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

The Behavioral Code

ISBN: 978-080704908-2
Publication Date: 10/19/2021
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $29.95
Format: Cloth
Not Yet Published
Will Ship On: October 2021
(Backorder policy)