S-Space College of Law/Law School (법과대학/대학원) The Law Research Institute (법학연구소) Journal of Korean Law Journal of Korean Law Volume 12 Number 1/2 (2012)
Rational Choice in Modern Administrative Law: With the Behavioral Economics Approach to the Two Major Cases in Korea
- Heo, Seong-Wook
- Issue Date
- BK 21 law
- Journal of Korean Law, Vol.12 No.2, pp. 219-239
- Rational Choice; Administrative Law; Behavioral Bias; Uncertainty; Risk; Mad cow disease protest; Cheon-seong mountain tunneling case
- In modern regulatory state, the government has to deal with the so-called ‘risk’ issues. We are all surrounded by many different types of risks like climate change, bird flu, mad cow disease, genetically modified food, nuclear energy, etc., just name a few. The reason why modern administrative law is under a big challenge in dealing with those risk issues is that the government has to make policy choice under uncertainty. Compared to the traditional role of state like police administration and social benefit administration, the role of government in risk administration is much complicated and dynamic.
In this paper, I would like to address the issue of how people and governments in modern administrative state can reach rational choice in dealing with risk management. The idea of democracy is based upon the rational choice of each individual participating political process. However, if, for some reason, people cannot fully understand what is going on and what kind of options they have, then, it is not easy for them to make rational choice in expressing their political preferences. Which naturally brings about the difficulty of government in setting appropriate policy measures in modern administrative law. With the interdisciplinary contribution of psychology, economics, and law, we now know that there are several human behavioral biases that are affecting the process of rational choice of individuals in forming their political preferences. Availability heuristic, cascading effect, group polarization, framing effect, hindsight bias, etc. are the major examples of those behavioral biases. In this paper, I will try to show how those behavioral biases are affecting the process of individuals’ political preference formation, explain what should be the main concern of modern administrative law to minimize the adverse effects of those possible irrationality of people in building up social preference function, and provide my own view on those topics.