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Full-Text Articles in Law

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Liability Survey: Inaccurate, Unfair, And Bad For Business, Theodore Eisenberg Dec 2009

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Liability Survey: Inaccurate, Unfair, And Bad For Business, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce uses its Survey of State Liability to criticize judiciaries and seek legal change but no detailed evaluation of the survey’s quality exists. This article presents evidence that the survey is substantively inaccurate and methodologically flawed. It incorrectly characterizes state law; respondents provide less than 10 percent correct answers for objectively verifiable responses. It is internally inconsistent; a state threatened with judicial hellhole status ranked first in the survey while venues not on the list ranked lower. The absence of correlation between survey rankings and observable activity suggests that other factors drive the rankings ...


Comments On "Getting Scarred And Winning Lotteries: Effects Of Exemplar Cuing And Statistical Format On Imagining Low-Probability Events," By Newell, Mitchell, And Hayes (2008), Jonathan Koehler, Laura Macchi Jan 2009

Comments On "Getting Scarred And Winning Lotteries: Effects Of Exemplar Cuing And Statistical Format On Imagining Low-Probability Events," By Newell, Mitchell, And Hayes (2008), Jonathan Koehler, Laura Macchi

Faculty Working Papers

Newell, Mitchell, and Hayes (NMH) conduct three experiments designed to test whether exemplar cuing (EC) theory or a statistical format theory provides a more accurate account for how people make judgments about low-probability events. They report finding support for the statistical format theory and little or no support for EC. However, NMH misstate the requirements for the production of exemplars in EC theory. As a result, they confuse non-exemplar conditions with exemplar conditions in their experiments, and find results that are virtually irrelevant to EC theory.


Will Quants Rule The (Legal) World?, Edward K. Cheng Jan 2009

Will Quants Rule The (Legal) World?, Edward K. Cheng

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Professor Ian Ayres, in his new book, Super Crunchers, details the brave new world of statistical prediction and how it has already begun to affect our lives. For years, academic researchers have known about the considerable and at times surprising advantages of statistical models over the considered judgments of experienced clinicians and experts. Today, these models are emerging all over the landscape. Whether the field is wine, baseball, medicine, or consumer relations, they are vying against traditional experts for control over how we make decisions. For the legal system, the take-home of Ayres's book and the examples he describes ...


Law, Statistics, And The Reference Class Problem, Edward K. Cheng Jan 2009

Law, Statistics, And The Reference Class Problem, Edward K. Cheng

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Statistical data are powerful, if not crucial, pieces of evidence in the courtroom. Whether one is trying to demonstrate the rarity of a DNA profile, estimate the value of damaged property, or determine the likelihood that a criminal defendant will recidivate, statistics often have an important role to play. Statistics, however, raise a number of serious challenges for the legal system, including concerns that they are difficult to understand, are given too much deference from juries, or are easily manipulated by the parties' experts. In this preview piece, I address one of these challenges, known as the "reference class problem ...


A Practical Solution To The Reference Class Problem, Edward K. Cheng Jan 2009

A Practical Solution To The Reference Class Problem, Edward K. Cheng

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The "reference class problem" is a serious challenge to the use of statistical evidence that arguably arises every day in wide variety of cases, including toxic torts, property valuation, and even drug smuggling. At its core, it observes that statistical inferences depend critically on how people, events, or things are classified. As there is (purportedly) no principle for privileging certain categories over others, statistics become manipulable, undermining the very objectivity and certainty that make statistical evidence valuable and attractive to legal actors. In this paper, I propose a practical solution to the reference class problem by drawing on model selection ...


The Deterrent Effect Of Death Penalty Eligibility: Evidence From The Adoption Of Child Murder Eligibility Factors, Michael D. Frakes, Matthew Harding Jan 2009

The Deterrent Effect Of Death Penalty Eligibility: Evidence From The Adoption Of Child Murder Eligibility Factors, Michael D. Frakes, Matthew Harding

Faculty Scholarship

We draw on within-state variations in the reach of capital punishment statutes between 1977 and 2004 to identify the deterrent effects associated with capital eligibility. Focusing on the most prevalent eligibility expansion, we estimate that the adoption of a child murder factor is associated with an approximately 20% reduction in the homicide rate of youth victims. Eligibility expansions may enhance deterrence by (1) paving the way for more executions and (2) providing prosecutors with greater leverage to secure enhanced non-capital sentences. While executions themselves are rare, this latter channel is likely to be triggered fairly regularly, providing a reasonable basis ...