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An Economic Rationale for Dismissing Low-Quality Experts in Trial

Kim, Chulyoung (2015): An Economic Rationale for Dismissing Low-Quality Experts in Trial.

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The history of the admissibility standard for expert testimony in American courtrooms reveals that the standard has gradually increased to a high level since a series of important decisions by the Supreme Court. Whether such a stringent standard for expert testimony is beneficial or detrimental to the American justice system is still under fierce debate, but there has been scant economic analysis of this issue. This paper attempts to fill the gap by presenting a game-theoretic argument showing that a stringent admissibility standard operates to increase the judicial decision's accuracy under certain situations. More precisely, when the judge faces uncertainty regarding an expert's quality, the admissibility standard may provide the judge with information about the quality of expert testimony, thereby increasing the accuracy of the judicial decision by mitigating the judge's inference problem. I show the ways in which this effect dominates at trial and discuss related issues.

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