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A Bayesian Model of Voting in Juries

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  • Duggan, John
  • Martinelli, Cesar

Abstract

We take a game-theoretic approach to the analysis of juries by modelling voting as a game of incomplete information. Rather than the usual assumption of two possible signals (one indicating guilt, the other innocence), we allow jurors to perceive a full spectrum of signals. Given any voting rule requiring a fixed fraction of votes to convict, we characterize the unique symmetric equilibrium of the game, and we consider the possibility of asymmetric equilibria: we give a condition under which no asymmetric equilibria exist and show that, without under which no asymmetric equilibria exist and show that, without it, asymmetric equilibria may exist. We offer a condition under which unanimity rule exhibits a bias toward convicting the innocent, regardless of the size of the jury, and we exhibit an example showing this bias can be reversed. And we prove a "jury theorem" for our general model: as the size of the jury increases, the probability of a mistaken judgment goes to zero for every voting rule, except unanimity rule; for unanimity rule, we give a condition under which the probability of a mistake is bounded strictly above zero, and we show that, without this condition, the probability of a mistake may go to zero.
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  • Duggan, John & Martinelli, Cesar, 2001. "A Bayesian Model of Voting in Juries," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 259-294, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:37:y:2001:i:2:p:259-294
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    1. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey S., 1996. "Information Aggregation, Rationality, and the Condorcet Jury Theorem," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 90(1), pages 34-45, March.
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    5. Duggan, John & Martinelli, Cesar, 2001. "A Bayesian Model of Voting in Juries," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 259-294, November.
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