Justice for Hire: Financial Incentives in Jury Deliberation

22 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2008

Date Written: April 14, 2008


Trial by one's peers is a foundation of the American legal system. In this paper, I present evidence that in addition to legally relevant facts, financial incentives influence the jury deliberation process. I take advantage of cross county variation in the opportunity cost of serving as a juror, and find that a 10% increase in juror compensation increases the time juries spend deliberating by 5%. While preliminary, these results suggest that the opportunity cost of jurors' time does influence how long they spend determining legal culpability, which has implications for legal and sociological research on deliberation length and judicial outcomes. In addition, jurors are able to choose they number of hours they work without the typical labor demand constraints faced by workers, and in particular low wage workers. My results suggest that the failure of existing empirical studies to identify an intensive labor supply response to wage changes is due to incorrect specification of the demand for low wage labor and measurement error in hours worked.

Keywords: Law and Economics, Jury Behavior, Labor Economics

JEL Classification: J22, K41

Suggested Citation

Owens, Emily Greene, Justice for Hire: Financial Incentives in Jury Deliberation (April 14, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1120336 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1120336

Emily Greene Owens (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

120 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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