Study Shows Link Between Judges' Economics Training and the Likelihood of Appeal in Complex Antitrust Cases

28 May 2010

Findings by NERA Special Consultant Michael Baye and George Mason University's Joshua Wright to be Published in The Journal of Law and Economics

New York -- Decisions in antitrust litigation by "generalist" judges are more likely to be appealed than those by judges with training in basic economics, according to a study by professors Michael Baye and Joshua Wright. Professor Baye is a Special Consultant with NERA Economic Consulting and the Bert Elwert Professor of Business at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. Professor Wright teaches at George Mason University’s School of Law and Department of Economics.

Although modern antitrust litigation often involves complex expert economic and econometric analysis, the study by Dr. Baye and Dr. Wright represents the first methodical analysis of the empirical effects of economic complexity or judges’ economic training on decision-making in antitrust cases.

Professors Baye and Wright examined data from antitrust litigation in federal district and administrative courts from the 1996-2006 period to test what impact economic training may have on the ability of generalist judges to successfully adjudicate antitrust cases. Their analysis took a variety of controls into account, including the type of case, the appellate circuit in which the case was litigated, the level of judicial experience with antitrust claims, judicial quality, and political ideology.

The study concluded that economic complexity and judges' economic training does have an impact on antitrust cases.

"Our analysis showed that decisions involving evaluation of complex economic evidence are significantly more likely to be appealed than other cases," said Dr. Baye. "We also found a correlation between judges’ economic training and appeals in antitrust cases; the decisions of judges who have basic economic training are much less likely to be appealed than those by generalist judges."

The results of the analysis by Dr. Baye and Dr. Wright will be published in a forthcoming issue of The Journal of Law and Economics.

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