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The Economist in Tort Litigation

By Robert Thornton and John Ward


In recent decades, the involvement of economists as consultants and expert witnesses in civil tort actions has grown rapidly. In this article, the authors discuss the reasons for this phenomenon and the extent to conflicts of interest to arise in the practice of what is frequently called 'forensic economics.' They argue that, although conflict-of-interest pressures exist, the limited evidence does not indicate that unethical practices are rampant within the profession. Moreover, market correctives, judicial screening, codes of ethical behavior, and the dissemination of knowledge concerning proper forensic practice help to serve as (arguably imperfect) safeguards against unethical practice.

DOI identifier: 10.1257/jep.13.2.101
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