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Inside The Bankruptcy Judge's Mind, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich Dec 2014

Inside The Bankruptcy Judge's Mind, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich

Jeffrey J. Rachlinski

In this paper, we extend our prior work on generalist judges to explore whether specialization leads to superior judicial decision making. To do so, we report the results of a study of federal bankruptcy judges. In one prior study of bankruptcy judges, Ted Eisenberg reported evidence suggesting that bankruptcy judges, like generalist judges, are susceptible to the "self-serving" or "egocentric" bias when making judgments. Here, we report evidence showing that bankruptcy judges are vulnerable to anchoring and framing effects, but appear largely unaffected by the omission bias, a debtor's race, a debtor's apology, and "terror management" or "mortality ...


Heuristics And Biases In Bankruptcy Judges, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich Dec 2014

Heuristics And Biases In Bankruptcy Judges, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich

Jeffrey J. Rachlinski

Do specialized judges make better decisions than judges who are generalists? Specialized judges surely come to know their area of law well, but specialization might also allow judges to develop better, more reliable ways of assessing cases. We assessed this question by presenting a group of specialized judges with a set of hypothetical cases designed to elicit a reliance on common heuristics that can lead judges to make poor decisions. Although the judges resisted the influence of some of these heuristics, they also expressed a clear vulnerability to others. These results suggest that specialization does not produce better judgment.


Heuristics And Biases In Bankruptcy Judges, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich Mar 2007

Heuristics And Biases In Bankruptcy Judges, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Do specialized judges make better decisions than judges who are generalists? Specialized judges surely come to know their area of law well, but specialization might also allow judges to develop better, more reliable ways of assessing cases. We assessed this question by presenting a group of specialized judges with a set of hypothetical cases designed to elicit a reliance on common heuristics that can lead judges to make poor decisions. Although the judges resisted the influence of some of these heuristics, they also expressed a clear vulnerability to others. These results suggest that specialization does not produce better judgment.


Inside The Bankruptcy Judge's Mind, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich Dec 2006

Inside The Bankruptcy Judge's Mind, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In this paper, we extend our prior work on generalist judges to explore whether specialization leads to superior judicial decision making. To do so, we report the results of a study of federal bankruptcy judges. In one prior study of bankruptcy judges, Ted Eisenberg reported evidence suggesting that bankruptcy judges, like generalist judges, are susceptible to the "self-serving" or "egocentric" bias when making judgments. Here, we report evidence showing that bankruptcy judges are vulnerable to anchoring and framing effects, but appear largely unaffected by the omission bias, a debtor's race, a debtor's apology, and "terror management" or "mortality ...