The Misquantification of Probative Value
Law & Human Behavior, Vol. 27, No. 6, pp. 645-659, December 2003
16 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2009 Last revised: 28 Oct 2009
D. Davis and W.C. Follette (2002) purport to show that when “the base rate” for a crime is low, the probative value of “characteristics known to be strongly associated with the crime…will be virtually nil”. Their analysis rests on the choice of an arbitrary and inapposite measure of the probative value of evidence. When a more suitable metric is used (e.g., a likelihood ratio), it becomes clear that evidence they would dismiss as devoid of probative value is relevant and diagnostic.
Keywords: Evidence, inference, probative value
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