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Information Acquisition and the Exclusion of Evidence in Trials


  • Benjamin Lester
  • Nicola Persico
  • Ludo Visschers


A peculiar principle of legal evidence in common law systems is that probative evidence may be excluded in order to increase the accuracy of fact-finding. A formal model is provided that rationalizes this principle. The key assumption is that the fact-finders (jurors) have a cognitive cost of processing evidence. Within this framework, the judge excludes evidence in order to incentivize the jury to focus on other, more probative evidence. Our analysis sheds light on two distinctive characteristics of this type of exclusionary rules. First, that broad exclusionary powers are delegated to the judge. Second, that exclusion on grounds of undue prejudice is peculiar to common law systems. Both features arise in our model. The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin Lester & Nicola Persico & Ludo Visschers, 2012. "Information Acquisition and the Exclusion of Evidence in Trials," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 163-182.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:28:y::i:1:p:163-182

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dhammika Dharmapala & Thomas J. Miceli, 2013. "Search, seizure and false (?) arrest: an analysis of fourth amendment remedies when police can plant evidence," Chapters,in: Research Handbook on Economic Models of Law, chapter 11, pages 208-234 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Ina A Taneva, 2015. "Information Design," ESE Discussion Papers 256, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.

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