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Runaway Judges? Selection Effects and the Jury

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  • Helland, Eric
  • Tabarrok, Alexander T

Abstract

Reports about runaway jury awards have become so common that it is widely accepted that the U.S. 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. Copyright 2000 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Helland, Eric & Tabarrok, Alexander T, 2000. "Runaway Judges? Selection Effects and the Jury," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 306-333, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:16:y:2000:i:2:p:306-33
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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. Oyer, Paul & Schaefer, Scott, 2002. "Sorting, Quotas, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991: Who Hires When It's Hard to Fire?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 41-68, April.
    3. Joni Hersch & W. Kip Viscusi, 2004. "Punitive Damages: How Judges and Juries Perform," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-36, January.
    4. Joni Hersch, 2006. "Demand for a Jury Trial and the Selection of Cases for Trial," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 119-142, January.
    5. 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.
    6. Eric Helland & Alexander Taberrok, "undated". "The Effect of Electoral Institutions on Tort Awards," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 1999-07, Claremont Colleges.

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