Modeling a Satisficing Judge

26 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2015

See all articles by Christoph Engel

Christoph Engel

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Students; Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Werner Guth

Max Planck Institute of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: October 2015

Abstract

Judges and juries frequently must decide, knowing that they do not know everything that would be relevant for deciding the case. The law uses two related institutions for enabling courts to nonetheless decide the case: the standard of proof, and the burden of proof. In this paper, we contrast a standard rational choice approach with a satisficing approach. Standard theory would want judges to rationally deal with the limitations of the evidence. We posit that this is not only descriptively implausible, but also normatively undesirable. We propose a theoretical framework for a judge who only considers scenarios that "she does not dare to neglect", and aims at decisions that are "good enough", given the undissolvable limitations of the evidence. We extend this approach to parties who strategically exploit the limited factual basis, and to judges who have to allocate limited resources for fact finding to more than one case.

JEL Classification: D82, C72, D81, K41, D03

Suggested Citation

Engel, Christoph and Güth, Werner, Modeling a Satisficing Judge (October 2015). MPI Collective Goods Preprint, No. 2015/14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2670443 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2670443

Christoph Engel (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany
+049 228 914160 (Phone)
+049 228 9141655 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.coll.mpg.de/engel.html

University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics

Postfach 2220
D-53012 Bonn
Germany

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Students ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
PO Box 1738
Rotterdam
Netherlands

Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Osnabruck, D-49069
Germany

Werner Güth

Max Planck Institute of Economics ( email )

Kahlaische Strasse 10
D-07745 Jena, 07745
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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