Monday, November 3, 2008

A Beautiful Mind in Splendid Isolation

Sometimes I forget how much pure enjoyment one can get from the economics literature. Consider this:

"The Optimal Jury Size When Jury Deliberation Follows a Random Walk"

Public Choice, Vol. 134, No. 3-4, 2008
Robert Day School of Economics and Finance Research Paper No. 2008-3

ERIC HELLAND, Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, RAND
YARON RAVIV, Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance

The existing literature does not agree on the optimal jury size. We demonstrate that the probability of type I and type II errors is not sensitive to the number of jurors under the following three conditions: jurors received independent signals about a defendant's guilt during the evidence stage of the trial; the jurors truthfully reveal their signal before deliberations in the first ballot via their vote; and the jury deliberation can be modeled as a random walk. Since the opportunity cost of jury service is positive, this implies the optimal number of jurors is one.

And why do we need coauthors?


reason said...


Is this guy serious? (Of course as always with this neo-classical non-sense the real crux lies in the choice of axioms and the use of the word OPTIMAL).

BruceMcF said...

Aha! "An analysis of the optimal number of authors of a research paper under the maximizing formalism in economics."


Abstract: 0.


reason said...

Why doesn't someone suggest that the author play this mind game
1. You are a clearly innocent white suspect
2. You are being tried in an all-black neighbourhood
3. 25% of the population hate "honkys"

Now, do you still believe the conclusions of the paper?

media said...

under alternative choice of parameters for the same model, i come up with the optimum number being 0.

J Thomas said...

Media, you agree with BruceMcF. Some papers are optimally left unwritten.