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Review of Law & Economics

Editor-in-Chief: Parisi, Francesco / Engel, Christoph

Ed. by Cooter, Robert D. / Gómez Pomar, Fernando / Kornhauser, Lewis A. / Parchomovsky, Gideon / Franzoni, Luigi

3 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.30

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.195
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.410

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Volume 8, Issue 3


Political Beliefs and Tort Awards: Evidence of Rationally Political Jurors from Two Data Sets

Scott Wentland
Published Online: 2012-12-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/1555-5879.1514


To better understand jury decision-making, this paper explores the extent to which jurors’ political beliefs impact real world trial outcomes. The key finding of this study is a strong empirical link between a jury pool’s political leanings and tort awards, robust across two distinct data sets, namely pooled panels from the Civil Justice Survey of State Courts and Jury Verdict Research data. I find that a one standard deviation (12%) increase in a jury pool’s Democratic vote (in presidential elections) increases tort awards by approximately $157,600 (or 30%) on average. This general relationship remains consistent through county and time fixed effects estimations, and controlling for a number of socioeconomic demographics. While the empirics presented here do not establish a definitive causal link, the data lends evidence to the case for what I call a “rationally political juror,” suggesting further examination into juror incentives and decision-making.

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Published Online: 2012-12-31

Citation Information: Review of Law & Economics, Volume 8, Issue 3, Pages 619–656, ISSN (Online) 1555-5879, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/1555-5879.1514.

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©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

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