Multitasking, Multi-Armed Bandits, and the Italian Judiciary

30 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2015 Last revised: 24 Mar 2016

Date Written: March 23, 2016

Abstract

We model how a judge schedules cases as a multi-armed bandit problem. The model indicates that a first-in-first-out (FIFO) scheduling policy is optimal when the case completion hazard rate function is monotonic. But there are two ways to implement FIFO in this context: at the hearing level or at the case level. Our model indicates that the former policy, prioritizing the oldest hearing, is optimal when the case completion hazard rate function decreases, and the latter policy, prioritizing the oldest case, is optimal when the case completion hazard rate function increases. This result convinced six judges of the Roman Labor Court of Appeals -- a court that exhibits increasing hazard rates -- to switch from hearing-level FIFO to case-level FIFO. Tracking these judges for eight years, we estimate that our intervention decreased the average case duration by 12% and the probability of a decision being appealed to the Italian supreme court by 3.8%, relative to a 44-judge control sample.

Keywords: empirical production scheduling, multitasking, multi-armed bandits, field experiment, Italian judiciary

Suggested Citation

Bray, Robert and Coviello, Decio and Ichino, Andrea and Persico, Nicola, Multitasking, Multi-Armed Bandits, and the Italian Judiciary (March 23, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2631929 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2631929

Robert Bray (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Department of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences (MEDS) ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Decio Coviello

HEC Montreal ( email )

3000, chemin de la Cote-Saint-Catherine,
montreal, Quebec H2V3P7
Canada

Andrea Ichino

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 1
40126 Bologna, fc 47100
Italy
+39 349 5965919 (Phone)

Nicola Persico

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
168
rank
162,704
Abstract Views
969
PlumX