Jurors, Judges, and the Mistreatment of Risk by the Courts
Viscusi, W. Kip
A sample of almost 500 jury-eligible citizens considered a series of experimental situations involving accidents. The juror sample did not properly apply negligence rules, as their errors were particularly great for low-probability, large-loss cases. They also penalized corporations for undertaking corporate risk analyses that seek to trade off cost versus risk reduction benefits. Jurors' damages assessments were also more prone to error than were responses by a sample of state judges. Judges were less prone to erroneous risk beliefs and less subject to the zero-risk mentality.