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Should Jurors Deliberate?

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  • Guha, Brishti

Abstract

Does the accuracy of verdicts improve or worsen if individual jurors on a panel are barred from deliberating prior to casting their votes? I study this question in a model where jurors can choose to exert costly effort to improve the accuracy of their individual decisions. I find that, provided the cost of effort is not too large, there is a threshold jury size above which it is better to allow jurors to deliberate. For panels smaller than this threshold, it is more effective to instruct jurors to vote on the basis of their private information, without deliberations, and to use a simple majority rule to determine the collective decision (regardless of the voting rule used with deliberations). The smaller the cost of paying attention, the larger the threshold above which the switch to allowing deliberations becomes optimal. However, if the unanimity rule had to be maintained under the no-deliberations system, it would be better to allow deliberation. The results apply to binary decision making in any committee where the committee members incur some effort in reviewing the evidence. Examples are tenure and promotion committees and some board of director meetings on issues such as whether to dismiss a CEO.

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  • Guha, Brishti, 2017. "Should Jurors Deliberate?," MPRA Paper 79876, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:79876
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Triossi, Matteo, 2013. "Costly information acquisition. Is it better to toss a coin?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 169-191.
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    8. Patrick Hummel, 2012. "Deliberation in large juries with diverse preferences," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(3), pages 595-608, March.
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    10. Guha, Brishti, 2018. "Secret ballots and costly information gathering: The jury size problem revisited," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 58-67.
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    1. Guha, Brishti, 2018. "Secret ballots and costly information gathering: The jury size problem revisited," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 58-67.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Jury deliberations; free riding; costly attention; secret voting; committees.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process

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