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Christopher Spencer, Paul Levine and Parimal Bag
''A note on: jury size and the free rider problem''
( 2006, Vol. 4 No.3 )
This note reassesses the basic result in Mukhopadhaya (2003) that, when jurors may acquire costly signals about a defendant's guilt, with a larger jury size the probability of reaching a correct verdict may in fact fall, contrary to the Condorcet Jury Theorem. We show that if the jurors coordinate on any one of a number of (equally plausible) asymmetric equilibria other than the symmetric equilibrium considered by Mukhopadhaya, the probability of accuracy reaches a maximum for a particular jury size and remains unchanged with larger juries, thus mitigating Mukhopadhaya''s result somewhat. However, the case for limiting the jury size – a recommendation by Mukhopadhaya – gains additional grounds if one shifts the focus from maximizing the probability of reaching a correct verdict to the maximization of the overall social surplus, measured by the expected benefits of jury decisions less the expected costs of acquiring signals.
JEL: D7 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making: General
K4 - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior: General
Manuscript Received : Dec 02 2005 Manuscript Accepted : Jan 16 2006

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