When is the Preponderance of the Evidence Standard Optimal?

10 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2008

See all articles by Henrik Lando

Henrik Lando

Copenhagen Business School - CBS Law

Date Written: June 18, 2002


This paper defines the preponderance of the evidence standard and establishes it as a benchmark for cases where deterrence is the dominant concern. The standard is shown to be optimal under the following assumptions: only efficiency matters (not fairness); people are risk-neutral; sanctions are socially costless; and investigations may take place even if no violation of the law has occurred.

Concerning the definition of preponderance of the evidence a distinction is made between standards based on probability of guilt and standards based on the evidence. The latter does not include ex-ante information concerning the offender's type, and should hence not be associated with a probability of guilt.

Keywords: preponderance of the evidence, optimal deterrence

JEL Classification: K10, K40

Suggested Citation

Lando, Henrik, When is the Preponderance of the Evidence Standard Optimal? (June 18, 2002). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1144705 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1144705

Henrik Lando (Contact Author)

Copenhagen Business School - CBS Law ( email )

Porcelaenshave 18B, 1
Frederiksberg 2000

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