Statistics, Not Experts

14 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2000

See all articles by William L. Meadow

William L. Meadow

University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital

Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law School; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: December 2000

Abstract

The legal system should rely much more than it now does on statistical evidence. It should be cautious about the judgments of experts, who make predictable cognitive errors. Like everyone else, experts have a tendency to blunder about risk, a point that has been shown to hold for doctors, whose predictions significantly err in the direction of optimism. We present new evidence that individual doctors' judgments about the ordinary standard of care are incorrect and excessively optimistic. We also show how this evidence bears on legal determinations of negligence, by doctors and others.

Suggested Citation

Meadow, William L. and Sunstein, Cass R., Statistics, Not Experts (December 2000). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=252824 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.252824

William L. Meadow (Contact Author)

University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital ( email )

5839 South Maryland Avenue
Department of Pediatrics
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts Ave
Areeda Hall 225
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2291 (Phone)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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