Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 13 No. 2 (Spring 1999)


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The Law and Economics of the Economic Expert Witness

Article Citation

Posner, Richard A. 1999. "The Law and Economics of the Economic Expert Witness." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 13(2): 91-99.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.13.2.91


I will consider the law and economics of the use of economic expert witnesses. After introducing the law governing the use of expert witnesses (including economists), I analyze and respond to several concerns regarding the use of expert witnesses. The first is that expert witnesses paid by the respective parties are bound to be partisans ("hired guns") rather than being disinterested, and hence presumptively truthful, or at least honest, witnesses. A second concern is about intelligibility once the expert's evidence has been admitted. A third concern about expert testimony is that opposing experts often cancel each other out. Supposing that the use of economists' testifying as expert witnesses is here to stay, we should consider how the system might be improved. My major proposal is the greater use of court-appointed experts selected on the arbitration model, but I have two additional proposals.

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Posner, Richard A. (US Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit and U Chicago Law School)

JEL Classifications

A11: Role of Economics; Role of Economists
K40: Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior: General


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