An economic rationale for dismissing low-quality experts in trial

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Abstract

The history of the admissibility standard for expert testimony in American courtrooms reveals that the standard has gradually increased to a high level following a series of important decisions by the Supreme Court. Whether such a stringent standard for expert testimony is beneficial or detrimental to the American justice system is still under fierce debate, but there has been scant economic analysis of this issue. This paper attempts to fill the gap by presenting a game-theoretic argument showing that a stringent admissibility standard operates to increase the accuracy of judicial decision-making in certain situations. More precisely, when the judge faces uncertainty regarding an expert's quality, the admissibility standard may provide the judge with information about the quality of expert testimony, thereby increasing the accuracy of judicial decision-making by mitigating the judge's inference problem. I show the ways in which this effect dominates at trial and discuss related issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-466
Number of pages22
JournalScottish Journal of Political Economy
Volume64
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics

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