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Specialist judges, Generalist judges, Specialized courts, Hindsight bias, Empirical legal studies


Judges | Law and Psychology | Legal History


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.

Publication Citation

Published in: Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, vol. 163, no. 1 (March 2007).