Evidentiary Standards and Information Acquisition in Public Law

Posted: 31 Dec 2008

Date Written: fall 2008


This article considers the type of evidence that an overseer (e.g., a court) should require before allowing a government agent to take some proposed action. The court can increase agency research incentives by prohibiting actions unless the agent produces supporting evidence, and/or by permitting action even when the agent uncovers adverse evidence. The court thus faces a trade-off between an evidentiary standard's ex post effects on the agent's policy decision and its ex ante effects on the agent's incentive to do research. An extension allows the court to make research effort a precondition for action, regardless of the evidence produced.

Keywords: K23, K32, K41

Suggested Citation

Stephenson, Matthew Caleb, Evidentiary Standards and Information Acquisition in Public Law (fall 2008). American Law and Economics Review, Vol. 10, Issue 2, pp. 351-387, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1318091 or http://dx.doi.org/ahn011

Matthew Caleb Stephenson (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-9863 (Phone)

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