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Second-Best JusticeThe Virtues of Japanese Private Law$
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J. Mark Ramseyer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226281995

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226282046.001.0001

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Wrong but Predictably Wrong

Wrong but Predictably Wrong

Labor, Landlord-Tenant, and Consumer Finance

(p.164) Chapter Six Wrong but Predictably Wrong
Second-Best Justice

J. Mark Ramseyer

University of Chicago Press

Japanese judges offer a routinized service. Rather than aim for the unattainable first-best particular, they supply the manageable second-best routine. Yet Japanese judges do not always choose wisely. Yet even when they choose foolishly, they choose in a predictable fashion: they choose foolishly in ways that the parties to a dispute can usually anticipate. When Japanese judges make these errant choices, they often err in a particular way. The initial judges apparently try to help what they think is the “weaker” party, and do so with a focus on the problem ex post; the succeeding judges follow them because “follow” is what Japanese judges do. The chapter gives three examples. First, in labor law, judges stop firms from dismissing workers during recessions; in the process, they raise the odds that firms will avoid hiring new employees. Second, in landlord-tenant disputes, judges stop landlords from evicting tenants; in the process, they raise the odds that owners will avoid renting empty units. Third, in consumer finance, judges ban firms from lending to high-risk borrowers at market rates; in the process, they increase the odds that lenders will shun poorer applicants.

Keywords:   labor, strike, real estate, eviction, personal finance, usury

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