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Errors in Judicial Decisions

Author

Listed:
  • Joep Sonnemans

    () (CREED, Amsterdam School of Economics, University of Amsterdam)

  • Frans van Dijk

    () (Council for the Judiciary, The Hague, the Netherlands)

Abstract

In criminal cases the task of the judge is to transform the uncertainty about the facts into the certainty of the verdict. In this experiment we examine the relationship between evidence of which the strength is known, subjective probability of guilt and verdict for abstract cases. We look at two situations: (1) all evidence is given and (2) evidence can be acquired. Roughly half of the participants do not base their decision on a subjective belief of the probability of guilt. The others underestimate in general the probability of guilt, but this is more than compensated by a tendency to convict at too low probability of guilt. In the situation where evidence can be acquired, participants do not acquire enough evidence.

Suggested Citation

  • Joep Sonnemans & Frans van Dijk, 2008. "Errors in Judicial Decisions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-089/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20080089
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    File URL: https://papers.tinbergen.nl/08089.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sonnemans, Joep, 1998. "Strategies of search," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 309-332, April.
    2. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    3. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
    4. Sonnemans, Joep, 2000. "Decisions and strategies in a sequential search experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 91-102, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Decision under uncertainty; judicial decisions; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior

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