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On 6 December 2012, Christoph Engel, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn and Professor of Law at the Universities of Bonn and Osnabrück, was installed as holder of the Erasmus Chair of Internationalization at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Over the years, he has increasingly branched out into, mostly experimental, economics and also psychology. He specializes in experimentally testing legal issues. From this angle, he will contribute to the empirical branch of legal scholarship at Erasmus School of Law.
In his inaugural lecture, he discusses the merits and the challenges in using a scientific method for casting new light on the social problems the law means to address, and on the effectiveness of legal intervention. While lab experiments are common in the natural sciences, and have become increasingly popular in economics, they still meet considerable resistance in legal academia. The lecture explains the concerns, and uses an example experiment to demonstrate how the concerns can be addressed.