Trial by Market: A Thought Experiment

23 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2006

See all articles by Michael Abramowicz

Michael Abramowicz

George Washington University Law School

Date Written: December 2005


This Article considers the possibility of providing incentives to judges to decide cases in the same way that an appellate panel would decide them. Random selection of a proportion of cases for retrial could be used to encourage judges to place aside their preferences in deference to the perceived preferences of a majority of judges. Providing such incentives to judges may reduce the need for alternative approaches to reducing judicial discretion, such as substantive law based on rules rather than on discretion. An information market similarly could be used to accomplish the task of adjudication, with some cases randomly selected for traditional adjudication to discipline the information market participants. Such an approach may be more cost-efficient than provision of monetary incentives to judges where information is widely dispersed, or where it is impractical for the government to hire enough judges to handle a large group of cases. Advantages and disadvantages of these approaches are discussed.

JEL Classification: K41

Suggested Citation

Abramowicz, Michael B., Trial by Market: A Thought Experiment (December 2005). GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 180. Available at SSRN: or

Michael B. Abramowicz (Contact Author)

George Washington University Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States

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