Game Theory and Judicial Behaviour

45 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2011 Last revised: 9 Apr 2011

See all articles by Arthur Dyevre

Arthur Dyevre

KU Leuven Centre for Empirical Jurisprudence

Date Written: March 11, 2011


The present paper surveys applications of game theory in the positive literature on judicial decision-making. As we shall see, scholars have tried to model various aspects of the strategic environment in which judges operate. Early applications of game theory to judicial behaviour concentrated on the interactions between courts and the other branches of power. More recently, scholars have tried to address the internal deliberative process of judicial institutions, to predict how judges sitting on the same court may engage in bargaining with each others to ensure that the final outcome is as close as possible to their ideal point. Meanwhile, others have sought to model interactions among judges sitting on different courts through the doctrine of precedent and the hierarchical structure of the judiciary. The paper concludes with a brief consideration of issues neglected in the existing literature and some suggestions for future research.

Keywords: game theory, law, courts, judicial behaviour, strategic decision-making

Suggested Citation

Dyevre, Arthur, Game Theory and Judicial Behaviour (March 11, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Arthur Dyevre (Contact Author)

KU Leuven Centre for Empirical Jurisprudence ( email )

Tiensestraat 41
Leuven, B-3000
+32492971322 (Phone)


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