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The median juror and the trial of Socrates

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  • McCannon, Bryan C.

Abstract

A model of the mechanism used by the Classical Athenians to prosecute Socrates is presented. Two important features of such trials are, first, both the prosecutor and the defendant propose sanctions and, second, a jury takes a simple majority vote over the two proposals. The Classical Athenians created a mechanism to achieve a median-juror result. This sanction is a Condorcet Winner among all possible sanctions, responds to both the harm of the act and the uncertainty of guilt, and, under reasonable conditions, improves deterrence resulting in fewer crimes being committed.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 26 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 533-540

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:26:y:2010:i:4:p:533-540

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

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Keywords: Deterrence Jury decision making Median juror Sanction Socrates;

References

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  1. McCannon, Bryan C., 2010. "Homicide trials in Classical Athens," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 46-51, March.
  2. Nicholas Kyriazis, 2009. "Financing the Athenian state: public choice in the age of Demosthenes," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 109-127, April.
  3. Ezra Friedman & Abraham L. Wickelgren, 2006. "Bayesian Juries and The Limits to Deterrence," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 70-86, April.
  4. Nicholas Kyriazis & Michel Zouboulakis, 2004. "Democracy, Sea Power and Institutional Change: An Economic Analysis of the Athenian Naval Law," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 117-132, January.
  5. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1999. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 6993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kambhu, John, 1989. "Regulatory Standards, Noncompliance and Enforcement," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 103-14, June.
  8. Kaiser, Brooks A., 2007. "The Athenian Trierarchy: Mechanism Design for the Private Provision of Public Goods," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(02), pages 445-480, June.
  9. John Kambhu, 1989. "Regulatory standards, noncompliance and enforcement," Research Paper, Federal Reserve Bank of New York 8902, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. James Andreoni, 1991. "Reasonable Doubt and the Optimal Magnitude of Fines: Should the Penalty Fit the Crime?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 385-395, Autumn.
  11. Lando Henrik, 2005. "The Size of the Sanction Should Depend on the Weight of the Evidence," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 277-292, September.
  12. Daniel L. Rubinfeld & David E.M. Sappington, 1987. "Efficient Awards and Standards of Proof in Judicial Proceedings," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 308-315, Summer.
  13. Fleck, Robert K & Hanssen, F Andrew, 2006. "The Origins of Democracy: A Model with Application to Ancient Greece," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 115-46, April.
  14. Miceli, Thomas J, 1990. "Optimal Prosecution of Defendants Whose Guilt Is Uncertain," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 189-201, Spring.
  15. Bitros, George C. & Karayiannis, Anastassios D., 2008. "Values and institutions as determinants of entrepreneurship in ancient Athens," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 205-230, August.
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Cited by:
  1. R. Marselli & M. Vannini & BC. McCannon, 2013. "Bargaining in the Shadow of Arbitration," Working Paper CRENoS 201309, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.

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