How to Succeed in Criminal Justice Without Really Trying

56 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2011 Last revised: 9 Nov 2011

See all articles by Roger Koppl

Roger Koppl

Whitman School of Management

Meghan Sacks

Fairleigh Dickinson University

Date Written: November 8, 2011


We examined the incentive structure of the various actors of the criminal justice system within an organization economics framework. Specifically, we examined the incentives of the police, forensic scientists, prosecutors and public defenders. We found that police, prosecutors and forensic scientists often have an incentive to garner convictions with little incentive to convict the right person, whereas public defenders lack incentives to provide a vigorous defense for their clients. Further, we analyzed the role this skewed incentive structure plays in leading to false convictions.

Keywords: multitask problem, criminal justice, forensic science, false convictions

JEL Classification: K14, L32, D2, D73

Suggested Citation

Koppl, Roger and Sacks, Meghan, How to Succeed in Criminal Justice Without Really Trying (November 8, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Roger Koppl (Contact Author)

Whitman School of Management ( email )

United States
(315) 443-4543 (Phone)
(315) 442-1449 (Fax)


Meghan Sacks

Fairleigh Dickinson University ( email )

285 Madison Avenue
Madison, NJ 07940
United States

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