How to Improve Forensic Science
Some institutional structures for inquiry produce better approximations to truth than others. The current institutional structure of police forensics gives each lab a monopoly in the analysis of the police evidence it receives. Forensic workers have inadequate incentives to produce reliable analyses of police evidence. Competition would create such incentives. I outline a system of “competitive self regulation” for police forensics. Each jurisdiction would have several competing forensic labs. Evidence would be divided and sent to one, two, or three separate labs. Chance would determine which labs and how many would receive evidence to analyze. Competitive self regulation improves forensics by creating incentives for error detection and reducing incentives to produce biased analyses.
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