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Faculty of Economics

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Baddeley, M. and Parkinson, S.

An economic analysis of group decisions by juries

Journal of Socio-economics

Vol. 41(5) pp. 558-573 (2012)

Abstract: In jury decision-making, individual viewpoints must converge to reach a group consensus. Convergence of viewpoints may reflect reasonable compromises, for example if jury deliberations reflect informational influences and social learning which allow individual jurors to correct biases, misunderstandings and/or imperfect recall of evidence. Conversely, some individuals may converge towards others’ viewpoints because of normative influences including peer pressure and preferences for conformity and these can generate biases in the final jury judgements. This paper presents experimental data showing that groups do have a significant tendency to compromise in jury-like settings. Econometric evidence shows that group characteristics, including the presence of acquaintances and strangers within the jury group, affect the extent of compromise. The implications are that jury deliberations may be biased by factors not relevant to a specific case, limiting the objectivity of jury decisions.

JEL Codes: C92, D03, D72, D81

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