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Jury Size and the Free Rider Problem


  • Kaushik Mukhopadhaya


In recent times, judges in the United States have said that 6-person juries are inferior to 12-person juries. But by what reasoning is a smaller jury inferior? One argument is the Condorcet jury theorem, which says that a larger jury will reach a more accurate decision. This, however, assumes that the information of each juror is independent of the size of the jury. I show that a juror's information does depend on the size of the jury. In a larger jury panel each juror has less incentive to pay attention in the court, even though they are all pledged to hear and deliver a verdict on a trial. Because of the free-rider problem, a larger jury may actually make poorer decisions. The results apply to many environments in which decisions are made by committees and work teams. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaushik Mukhopadhaya, 2003. "Jury Size and the Free Rider Problem," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 24-44, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:19:y:2003:i:1:p:24-44

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