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Tess Wilkinson-Ryan L'05

Assistant Professor of Law and Psychology

Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

Tess Wilkinson-Ryan studies the psychology of legal decision-making. Her research addresses the role of moral judgment in legal decision making, with a particular focus on private contracts and negotiations. Continue reading… Tess Wilkinson-Ryan studies the psychology of legal decision-making. Her research addresses the role of moral judgment in legal decision making, with a particular focus on private contracts and negotiations. She uses experimental methods from psychology and behavioral economics to ask how people draw on their moral intuitions to motivate or inform legal choices. Recent research topics include mortgage borrowing and default, retirement planning, contract precautions, and the cognitive and emotional response to breach of contract. In 2012 she was awarded the A. Leo Levin Award for Excellence in an Introductory Course.

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Expertise

  • Contracts
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Social Science and the Law

Articles and Book Chapters

Psychology of Contract Precautions, 80 U. CHI. L. REV. ___ (with David Hoffman) (forthcoming)

Legal Promise and Psychological Contract, 47 WAKE FOREST L. REV. 843 (2012).

Transferring Trust: Reciprocity Norms and Assignment of Contract, 9 J. EMPIRICAL LEG. STUD. 511 (2012)

Breaching the Mortgage Contract: The Behavioral Economics of Strategic Default, 64 VAND. L. REV. 1547 (2011).

Do Liquidated Damages Encourage Efficient Breach? A Psychological Experiment, 108 MICH. L. REV. 633 (2010).

Breach is for Suckers, 63 VAND. L. REV. 1003 (2010) (with David Hoffman).

Fault in Contracts, A Psychological Approach, in FAULT IN AMERICAN CONTRACT LAW (Omri Ben-Shahar & Ariel Porat eds., Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Moral Judgment and Moral Heuristics in Breach of Contract, 6 J. EMPIRICAL LEGAL STUD. 405 (2009) (with Jonathan Baron).

The Effect of Conflicting Moral and Legal Rules on Bargaining Behavior: The Case of Divorce, 37 J. LEGAL STUD. 315 (2008) (with Jonathan Baron).

Negotiating Divorce: Gender and the Behavioral Economics of Divorce Bargaining, 26 LAW & INEQ. 109 (2008) (with Deborah Small).

Comment, Admitting Mental Health Evidence to Impeach the Credibility of a Sexual Assault Complainant, 153 U. PA. L. REV. 1373 (2005).

More publications can be found here.

Working Papers

Demand for Breach, (April 20, 2014). U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 14-19. (forthcoming)
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Judging Similarity (March 10, 2014), 100 IOWA L. REV. __ (forthcoming 2014) (with Shyamkrishna Balganesh & Irina D. Manta). (forthcoming 2014)
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Intuitions About Contract Formation (February 20, 2014), U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 14-5 (with David A. Hoffman). (forthcoming)
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Why Do Retail Investors Make Costly Mistakes? An Experiment on Mutual Fund Choice (May 2013). U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 12-24 (with Jill E. Fisch). (forthcoming)
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Fee Salience in Retirement Investment Choices (with Jill Fisch). (forthcoming)

The Sucker Norm: Betrayal, Humiliation, and Retaliation in Economic Behavior. (forthcoming)

Research Areas

  • Contract Law
  • Negotiation
  • Family Law
  • Experimental Economics
  • Moral Judgment

Positions

Penn Law – Assistant Professor of Law (2010- ); George Sharswood Fellow in Law and Psychology, Lecturer in Law (2008-10)

University of Pennsylvania College of Arts & Sciences – Graduate Fellow, Teaching Assistant (2005-08)

Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, Portland, Maine – Summer Associate (2004)

Education Law Center, Philadelphia – Summer Intern (2003)

Courses

  • Contracts
  • Psychological Analysis of Legal Decision-Making
  • Gender, Psychology, and Law

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