Jury Size and the Free Rider Problem

Posted: 21 Mar 2003

See all articles by Kaushik Mukhopadhaya

Kaushik Mukhopadhaya

Emory University - Department of Economics


In recent times, judges in the United States have said that six-man juries are inferior to twelve-man juries. But by what reasoning is a smaller jury inferior? One argument is the "Condorcet Jury Theorem," which says that a larger jury will reach a more accurate decision. This, however, assumes that the information of each juror is independent of the size of the jury. I show that a juror's information does depend on the size of the jury. In a larger jury panel each juror has less incentive to pay attention in the court, even though they are all pledged to hear and deliver a verdict on a trial. Because of the free-rider problem, a larger jury may actually make worse decisions. The results apply to many environments in which decisions are made by committees and work teams.

Keywords: Majority voting, jury size, free-riding

JEL Classification: D7, K4

Suggested Citation

Mukhopadhaya, Kaushik, Jury Size and the Free Rider Problem. The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Vol. 19, pp. 24-44, 2003, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=355182

Kaushik Mukhopadhaya (Contact Author)

Emory University - Department of Economics ( email )

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