Predictably Incoherent Judgments, PIJ, Punitive damages awards, Empirical legal studies
Applied Statistics | Civil Procedure | Law and Society | Remedies
Experimental evidence generated in controlled laboratory studies suggests that the legal system in general, and punitive damages awards in particular, should display an incoherent pattern. According to the prediction, inexperienced decisionmakers, such as juries, should fail to convert their qualitative judgments of defendants' conduct into consistent, meaningful dollar amounts. This Article tests this prediction and finds modest support for the thesis that experience across different types of cases will lead to greater consistency in awards. Despite this support, numerous studies of damage awards in real cases detect a generally sensible pattern of damage awards. This Article tries to reconcile the largely coherent pattern of real-world results with the experimental findings and suggests that careful attention to sources of coherence and incoherence can help reconcile experimental and real-world results.
Eisenberg, Theodore; Rachlinski, Jeffrey J.; and Wells, Martin T., "Reconciling Experimental Incoherence with Real-World Coherence in Punitive Damages" (2002). Cornell Law Faculty Publications. Paper 377.
Published in: Stanford Law Review, vol. 54, issue 6 (June 2002).