Lawyers’ Role-Induced Bias Arises Fast and Persists Despite Intervention

Harvard Law School John M. Olin Center Discussion Paper No. 1005

Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 19-28

19 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2019 Last revised: 9 Oct 2019

Date Written: May 15, 2019

Abstract

Law students randomly assigned to represent one side in a legal argument in the classroom exhibit substantial role-induced prediction bias for their side within only 40 minutes of their role assignment. Reminding students that prediction requires a more neutral perspective than advocacy does not attenuate the bias. The bias occurs evenly in male and female participants, who also report equal confidence in their predictions.

Keywords: own-side bias, experiment, lawyers, legal argument

JEL Classification: D91, K40

Suggested Citation

Spamann, Holger, Lawyers’ Role-Induced Bias Arises Fast and Persists Despite Intervention (May 15, 2019). Harvard Law School John M. Olin Center Discussion Paper No. 1005; Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 19-28. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3387536 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3387536

Holger Spamann (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

ECGI ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

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