How Do Judges Think About Risk?
Viscusi, W. Kip
A sample of almost 100 judges exhibited well-known patterns of biases in risk beliefs and reasonable implicit values of life. These biases and personal preferences largely do not affect attitudes toward judicial risk decisions, though there are some exceptions, such as ambiguity aversion, misinterpretation of negligence rules, and retrospective risk assessments in accident cases, which is a form of hindsight bias. Although judges avoided many pitfalls exhibited by jurors and the population at large, they nevertheless exhibited systematic errors, particularly for small probability-large loss events. These findings highlighted the importance of judicial review and the input of expert risk analysts to assist judicial decisions in complex risk cases.