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Experimental Studies on the Normative Force of Law: The Problem of 'Treatment Resistance'

Tuesday 4 July 2023
Diplomacy and Global Affairs Research Seminar Series 2023
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague


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About the event

An important question in legal theory and policy is under what conditions are people willing to put aside their policy preferences to uphold higher-order legal values? That is, when does constitutional or international law have “normative force”? Around two dozen experimental studies have attempted to measure this question empirically, but their designs contain an inherent limitation: respondents in the treatment group whose priors are strongly contrary to the treatment message on the legality of a policy are effectively 'treatment resistant': it is difficult to successfully treat them. Where a significant portion of the treatment and/or control group is not successfully treated, the results will be biased towards a null finding. In this lecture, Professor Cope will talk about models underlying the problem of 'treatment resistance' and will demonstrate an actionable solution to this problem.

Professor Kevin Cope

About the speaker

Professor Kevin Cope is a legal scholar and political scientist whose research investigates legal and political decision-making using empirical, comparative, and formal theoretical methods. Substantively, he is most interested in immigration, international political economy, human and civil rights, and judicial ideology. Cope is the past co-president of the Society for Empirical Legal Studies and a co-editor of the inaugural Oxford University Handbook on Comparative Immigration Law.

Cope’s work is published in journals such as the Journal of Legal Studies, Journal of Theoretical Politics, Political Science Research and Methods, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Michigan Law Review, American Journal of Comparative Law, and American Journal of International Law. He is also widely published in popular press.

Cope earned his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law, his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan, his LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from the Ohio State University.

About the seminars

The Diplomacy and Global Affairs (DGA) Research Seminar is a series launched by the Research Group on Diplomacy and Global Affairs at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs. The seminars of internationally acknowledged guest researchers and faculty members deal with current research topics in diplomacy, international relations, global affairs, and political economy broadly conceived and target a broad audience through their interdisciplinary focus.

If you have any questions, please contact Arash Pourebrahimi 


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