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How Do Judges Think about Risk?

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  • Viscusi, W Kip

Abstract

A sample of almost 100 judges exhibited well-known patterns of biases in risk beliefs and reasonable implicit values of life. These biases and personal preferences largely do not affect attitudes toward judicial risk decisions, though there are some exceptions, such as ambiguity aversion, misinterpretation of negligence rules, and retrospective risk assessments in accident cases, which is a form of hindsight bias. Although judges avoided many pitfalls exhibited by jurors and the population at large, they nevertheless exhibited systematic errors, particularly for small probability-large loss events. These findings highlighted the importance of judicial review and the input of expert risk analysts to assist judicial decisions in complex risk cases. Copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Viscusi, W Kip, 1999. "How Do Judges Think about Risk?," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1-2), pages 26-62, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:1:y:1999:i:1-2:p:26-62
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Martín-Román, Ángel & Moral, Alfonso & Martínez-Matute, Marta, 2015. "Peer effects in judicial decisions: Evidence from Spanish labour courts," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 20-37.
    2. Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2015. "Salience Theory of Judicial Decisions," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(S1), pages 7-33.
    3. Malo, Miguel Ángel & Martín-Román, Ángel L. & Moral, Alfonso, 2016. "“Peer effects” or “quasi-peer effects” in Spanish labour court rulings," MPRA Paper 72669, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. De Figueiredo, John M. & De Figueiredo, Rui J. P. Jr., 2002. "Managerial Decision-Making in Non-Market Environments: A Survey Experiment," Working papers 4246-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.

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