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Runaway Judges? Selection Effects and the Jury

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  • Eric Helland

    (Claremont McKenna College)

  • Alexander Taberrok

    (Georgetown University)

Abstract

Reports about runaway jury awards have become so common that it is widely accepted that the US jury system needs to be ‘fixed.’ Proposals to limit the right to a jury trial and increase judicial discretion over awards implicitly assume that judges decide cases differently than juries. We show that there are large differences in mean awards and win rates across juries and judges. But if the types of cases coming before juries are different from those coming before judges, mean award and win rates may differ even if judges and juries would make the same decisions when faced with the same cases. We find that most of the difference in judge and jury mean awards can be explained by differences in the sample of cases coming before judges and juries. On some dimensions, however, there remain robust and suggestive differences between judges and juries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Claremont Colleges in its series Claremont Colleges Working Papers with number 2000-10.

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Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:2000-10

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  1. Boyes, William J. & Hoffman, Dennis L. & Low, Stuart A., 1989. "An econometric analysis of the bank credit scoring problem," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 3-14, January.
  2. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  3. Cooter, Robert D & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1989. "Economic Analysis of Legal Disputes and Their Resolution," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 1067-97, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Daniel P. Kessler & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 2004. "Empirical Study of the Civil Justice System," NBER Working Papers 10825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eric Helland & Jonathan Klick & Alexander Tabarrok, 2005. "Data Watch: Tort-uring the Data," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 207-220, Spring.
  3. Eric Helland & Alexander Taberrok, . "The Effect of Electoral Institutions on Tort Awards," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 1999-07, Claremont Colleges.

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