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Jeffrey Rachlinski to Speak on "Heuristics and Biases Among Expert Negotiators"

Jeffrey Rachlinski, a professor of law at Cornell Law School and a visiting professor at Yale Law School, will address the Quinnipiac-Yale Dispute Resolution Workshop on the topic of "Heuristics and Biases Among Expert Negotiators," on Monday, December 08, 2003, at 4:30 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge. The talk is free and open to the public.

Jeffrey Rachlinski will present a working paper he is coauthoring with Chris Guthrie, a professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School, that explores how repeat players in a transaction frequently have advantages over novices, despite efforts by the legal system to overcome this disparity.

The law frequently uses information disclosure requirements as a way of leveling the playing field in transactions--as in the discovery process in litigation and informed disclosure requirements. But Rachlinski argues that experienced participants in these transactions not only have more information, but also develop superior problem-solving methods. "The difference in cognitive abilities to process this information can undermine disclosure as an effective remedy," he writes.

Rachlinski's paper looks to answer the question, "But how good are experienced parties, really?" He reports on the results of "research on a group of consummate repeat players--employees in the insurance business. Insurers are classic repeat players. In offering policies, they repeatedly engage in the same transaction with parties who might only infrequently think about the terms under which they purchase insurance."

The study found decision-making strengths in the group of insurance experts, as well as some weaknesses, which Rachlinski will describe.

Go here for more information about the Quinnipiac-Yale Dispute Resolution Workshop.