Saturday, April 29, 2023

Fathers’ Leave

 A new study report Fathers’ Leave Reduces Sexist Attitudes. No surprise there. 

Research shows that sexist attitudes are deeply ingrained, with adverse consequences in the socioeconomic and political sphere. We argue that parental leave for fathers—a policy reform that disrupts traditional gender roles and promotes less stereotypical ones—has the power to decrease attitudinal gender bias. Contrasting the attitudes of new parents who were (and were not) directly affected by a real-world policy reform that tripled the amount of fathers’ leave, we provide causal evidence that the reform increased gender-egalitarian views in the socioeconomic and political domains among mothers and fathers, and raised support for pro-female policies that potentially displace men among mothers. In contrast, informational, indirect exposure to the reform among the general public produced no attitudinal change. These results show that direct exposure to progressive social policy can weaken sexist attitudes, providing governments with a practical and effective tool to reduce harmful biases.

Of course if people are treated equally they develop more equal attitudes. It isn't just fathers' leave that reduces sexist attitudes. Likewise, more equal representation of women in work, management, politics, etc. all reduce sexist attitudes. If over your career, half your bosses were women, you will be less sexist.  The exact same logic applies to race and gender identity. 

But we need to remember it works both ways. Unless half the military and half of dangerous jobs are held by women, sexist attitudes, by men and women, will persist. We need to fix the whole problem. 

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Myside Bias Or Self-Interest?

A new report from the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies discuses "myside" bias in litigation where lawyers overestimate their chance of success in the courtroom. 

In a vast majority of disputes, settlement is superior to litigation, which involves uncertainty, legal fees, and opportunity cost. Unnecessary litigation also causes judicial backlog, wastes resources, and increases societal conflict. Major contributors to the lack of settlement are intransigent litigants who harbor overoptimistic predictions of litigation outcomes, even though they are looking at identical facts and applicable law. A study (N = 166) found significant myside bias in the participants' predictions of a judicial award (claimants' advisers expected awards that were 69% higher than defendants' advisers) and in their evaluation of arguments (both sides thought the arguments supporting their side were 30% more convincing than the arguments supporting their counterparty). Debiasing interventions—alerting to the myside bias, considering the perspective of the counterparty and dialectical bootstrapping—reduced the bias but did not eliminate it. Exploratory investigation indicated that a large proportion of advisers exhibited na├»ve realism and bias blind spot, and that cognitive reflection provided a limited measure of resistance to myside bias.

They completely miss the point. Lawyers are biased to prolong litigation because they get more money by doing so. It really is that simple. This is especially true in family law as the lawyers can leverage the often strained relationship between the litigants to prolong the case. 

Of course not every lawyer does this, but I doubt you would fine an honest lawyer who didn't admit that many do. 

Our legal process intensifies lawyers to act unethically and criminally and there is virtually no risk in doing so. Of course it is corrupt. Follow the money as they say. 

Friday, April 14, 2023

Ethics & The Supreme Court

With the revelations about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's receipt of lavish vacations (in some cases exceeding $500,000 for an individual trip) by a wealthy republican donor, some have highlighted the lack of  rules of conduct for the supreme court as an enabling cause. 

While I agree the same rules of conduct all other judges are required to abide by should be extended to the supreme court, I am doubtful they will have any more impact on the supreme court than they do on the rest of the judiciary. The reality is, rules or not, judges can and often act corruptly without consequence. It is part of the larger issue of corruption which has become normalized within the legal system. 

There are many laws I disagree with and believe need to be changed. But at least they are known. The problem with corruption within the judiciary is there is no other place where one can go to seek justice.  You might think district attorneys or the FBI would help but in virtually all cases they are unwilling to even investigate their close colleagues who they work with in the judiciary. No matter what the evidence. 

It s difficult to overestimate the negative impact to society such corruption has. 

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Florida Tries Yet Again

If at first you don't succeed....

Florida is trying for the forth time to reform alimony in the state including getting rid of permanent alimony

After governors have vetoed three previous attempts to change Florida’s alimony laws, the latest proposed revamp is headed to the full Senate for a vote. The Florida Bar’s Family Law Section and supporters of overhauling alimony laws clashed for a decade. But the former foes have banded together this year to endorse a plan to do away with “permanent” alimony and make a series of other changes.

Not surprisingly, recipients of permanent alimony oppose the idea. 

Is it not strange that a marriage can be ended by divorce at any time but permanent alimony is until death? The idea that a person can leave a marriage with the provision that the abandoned spouse has to work until death for them is simply not right. 

Most states require marital assets to be divided equally at the time of divorce. In extraordinary circumstances, I am fine with one spouse getting temporary alimony to train for a job but other that that it is difficult to understand why they would get more. Especially, like in my case, the abandoned spouse is the one raising the children.