Yuval Feldman


On his book The Law of Good People: Challenging States' Ability to Regulate Human Behavior

Cover Interview of January 30, 2019


My hope for the book is that it will push behavioral research more into the ethical arena. Clearly, we live in a world with high rates of ordinary unethicality. Though it affects the evolution of social and legal norms, this area of study has been neglected because the legal system focuses more on gross violations of the law, assuming that these present greater risks than unethical behavior by ordinary people in ordinary situations.

Moreover, behavioral economics, having dominated conversations between law and the behavioral sciences, has led academics and others in the behavioral insights field to focus more on fixing biases and heuristics in areas such as health, financial decision making, and energy, than on understanding the role of fairness and justice. Behavioral ethics, on the other hand, though it is a much younger field, has the potential to shift the attention of legal researchers and policy makers to the importance of the behavioral sciences in accounting for improvements in people’s ethical decision-making. Behavioral ethics scholars have showed us how good people are constantly misleading themselves about their behavior; they believe they are within the realms of law and morality, when in reality, they are not. I hope that the book will lead more scholars, behavioral insight units, managers and policy makers to focus on trying to make people more ethical,  not just more rational.