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A Battle of Forensic Experts is not a Race to the Bottom


  • Roger Koppl
  • E. James Cowan


We apply concepts from the small, but growing literature on the economics of experts to forensic science. An economic theory of experts must build on the assumption that experts are no more or less influenced by incentives than actors in other areas of human action. We suggest changes in the organization of forensic science that will improve error prevention, detection, and correction. In particular, a right of forensic expertise for the defense would bring the adversarial process of criminal courts closer to an 'equality of arms' and increase the probability that the biases in the system will be neutralized, errors minimized, and truth discovered. It is our contention that by including competing forensic experts among a series of needed changes, we are wresting decision making from the forensic experts and returning it to the finders of fact, the judge or jury.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger Koppl & E. James Cowan, 2010. "A Battle of Forensic Experts is not a Race to the Bottom," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(2), pages 235-262.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:22:y:2010:i:2:p:235-262
    DOI: 10.1080/09538251003665644

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    Cited by:

    1. Everard Cowan & Roger Koppl, 2011. "An experimental study of blind proficiency tests in forensic science," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 24(3), pages 251-271, September.

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