on December 9, 2006
Written by senior economist Eric Helland and associate professor of economics Alexander Tabarrok, Judge and Jury: American Tort Law on Trial is a hard look at the overwhelming instances of inequality, corruption, and inefficiency plaguing American tort law. Drawing upon data from thousands of American tort cases, Judge and Jury explains in plain terms how the legal system really works, warning the reader that the driving factors behind huge awards are rarely law or economics, but rather jury composition and judicial elections. The authors' meticulous empirical research offers surprising findings, from the revelation that high contingent attorney fees actually reduce frivolous litigation, to an observation of extreme disparity in the size of tort awards in different regions of America. A careful discussion of options for reform rounds out this wake-up call to legal inequities and their consequences.