Adversarial Decision-Making: Choosing Between Models Constructed by Interested Parties

2 Pages Posted: 25 Dec 2013 Last revised: 17 Mar 2017

Luke Froeb

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics

Bernhard Ganglmair

University of Texas at Dallas - Managerial Economics; Northeastern University - Dept. of Economics

Steven Tschantz

Vanderbilt University - Department of Mathematics

Date Written: September 7, 2016

Abstract

In this paper, we characterize adversarial decision-making as a choice between competing interpretations of evidence ("models") constructed by interested parties. We show that if a court cannot perfectly determine which party's model is more likely to have generated the evidence, then adversaries face a tradeoff: a model further away from the most likely interpretation has a lower probability of winning, but also a higher payoff following a win. We characterize the equilibrium, in which both adversaries construct optimal models, and use the characterization to compare adversarial decision-making to an inquisitorial benchmark. We find that adversarial decisions are biased, and the bias favors the party with the less likely, and more extreme, interpretation of the evidence. Court bias disappears when the court is better able to distinguish between the likelihoods of the competing models, or as the amount of evidence grows.

Keywords: adversarial justice; evidence-based decision-making; expert testimony; inquisitorial justice; litigation; persuasion games; science vs. advocacy

JEL Classification: C72, D72, K41

Suggested Citation

Froeb, Luke and Ganglmair, Bernhard and Tschantz, Steven, Adversarial Decision-Making: Choosing Between Models Constructed by Interested Parties (September 7, 2016). Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 2371768; Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 59, No. 3, pp. 527-548, August 2016; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 14-13; Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 2371768. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2371768 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2371768

Luke M. Froeb (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States
615-322-9057 (Phone)
615-343-7177 (Fax)

Bernhard Ganglmair

University of Texas at Dallas - Managerial Economics ( email )

800 W. Campbell Rd (SM31)
Richardson, TX 75080
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/bganglmair

Northeastern University - Dept. of Economics ( email )

301 Lake Hall
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Steven T. Tschantz

Vanderbilt University - Department of Mathematics ( email )

Nashville, TN 37240
United States

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