Is Antitrust Too Complicated for Generalist Judges? The Impact of Economic Complexity & Judicial Training on Appeals

39 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2008 Last revised: 11 May 2014

Michael R. Baye

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy

Joshua D. Wright

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Date Written: January 27, 2009

Abstract

The recent increase in the demand for expert economic analysis in antitrust litigation has improved the welfare of economists; however, the law and economics literature is silent on the effects of economic complexity or judges’ economic training on judicial decision-making. We use a unique data set on antitrust litigation in federal district and administrative courts during 1996-2006 to examine whether economic complexity impacts antitrust decisions, and provide a novel test of the hypothesis that antitrust analysis has become too complex for generalist judges. We also examine the impact of basic economic training by judges. We find that decisions involving the evaluation of complex economic evidence are significantly more likely to be appealed, and decisions of judges trained in basic economics are significantly less likely to be appealed than are decisions by their untrained counterparts. Our analysis supports the hypothesis that some antitrust cases are too complicated for generalist judges.

Keywords: ABA Task Force, battle of the experts, Bork, competition law, Daubert, econometrics, expert witness, FTC, George Mason University Law and Economics Center, Mandel, political economy, Posner, Sherman Act

JEL Classification: A2, A11, A13, A23, B20, K10, K21, K41, L4

Suggested Citation

Baye, Michael R. and Wright, Joshua D., Is Antitrust Too Complicated for Generalist Judges? The Impact of Economic Complexity & Judicial Training on Appeals (January 27, 2009). Journal of Law and Economics, Forthcoming; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 09-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1319888

Michael Roy Baye

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy ( email )

Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-855-2779 (Phone)
812-855-3354 (Fax)

Joshua D. Wright (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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