Sticks, carrots, or a hybrid mechanism: The test case of refusal to divorce

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Various incentives may be used in order to cause a person to desist from creating negative externalities. Both carrots and sticks have advantages and disadvantages. Literature is familiar with various combinations between them. In most cases, the mechanism is "horizontal": using carrots with respect to certain parts of the population, and sticks against others. The article presents a novel, vertical mechanism, in the form of a "game"played in two consecutive stages that trap the damager within the mechanism. At the center of the first stage of the mechanism stands a "carrot,"which is money offered for the damager in order for him/her to desist from the evil, combined with a type of a stick, which is a social sanction (shaming). At the center of the second stage, which is activated only if the first stage did not succeed, stands a "stick,"which is a civil action that can be brought against the damager if s/he does not take the carrot offered to him/her in the first stage. The objective: to incentivize a person to engage in fruitful negotiations to end harmful activity at the pre-mechanism stage. To illustrate this, the article draws on negative social behavior of one-sided refusal to give/accept the divorce bill (get) in the Jewish sector the world over. The mechanism will be built primarily on the basis of a few law and economics theories. A dialogue will thus be created with these theories in fields where they are rarely applied. The main argument is that the use of a vertical setup increases efficiency at a minimal additional cost, overcomes a moral problem, and optimally combines the resulting advantages by deploying sticks and carrots, and at the same time neutralizes most of the disadvantages of either of them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-919
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Constitutional Law
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law


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