Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Fundamental Rights and Conflict
by Bunting, William C., Ph.D., Yale University, 2012, 195; 3525193
Abstract (Summary)

The thesis develops a new conceptualization of fundamental rights within a game-theoretic formulation. Unlike Coasian property rights, parties cannot privately bargain around an initial assignment of fundamental rights. Instead, they must engage in conflict to achieve a more optimal allocation. This conflict takes the form of civil litigation.

Chapter One introduces the concept of a two-stage politico-conflict game in a static framework. Notably, it shows that for a large range of exogenously-determined parameters describing the judicial conflict resolution technology (e.g., the range of feasible outcomes), increased judicial interference is never social welfare-increasing when electoral candidates are forward-looking.

Chapter Two introduces public spending on social order and endogenizes the range of feasible judicial outcomes by making it an element of announced policy platforms. It shows electoral candidates always prefer positive levels of conflict, even when conflict can be reduced at zero cost to taxpayers. It also shows increasing the population-size of the two special interest groups contesting fundamental rights is social welfare-increasing.

Chapter Three extends the static model to a dynamic setting and defines two measures of judicial activism: (1) judicial diversity and (2) judicial deference. Judicial deference is a measure of the court's willingness to defer to the policymaking of external political institutions, and judicial diversity is a measure of the range of feasible judicial outcomes. For a particular parametric specification of the model, we show social welfare is increasing with respect to judicial diversity and is invariant with respect. to judicial deference (i.e., electoral candidates announce policy platforms that "perfectly" offset changes in the judicial-interference parameter).

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jaynes, Gerald
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 73/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Economics, Political science, Law
Keywords: Activism, Conflict, Conflict resolution, Decision-making, Delegation, Dynamic models, Judicial activism, Judicial decision-making, Judiciary, Mutual optimism
Publication Number: 3525193
ISBN: 978-1-267-57476-3
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