A battle of forensic experts is not a race to the bottom

Roger Koppl, E. James Cowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We apply concepts from the small, but growing literature on the economics of experts to forensic science. An economic theory of experts must build on the assumption that experts are no more or less influenced by incentives than actors in other areas of human action. We suggest changes in the organization of forensic science that will improve error prevention, detection, and correction. In particular, a right of forensic expertise for the defense would bring the adversarial process of criminal courts closer to an 'equality of arms' and increase the probability that the biases in the system will be neutralized, errors minimized, and truth discovered. It is our contention that by including competing forensic experts among a series of needed changes, we are wresting decision making from the forensic experts and returning it to the finders of fact, the judge or jury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-262
Number of pages28
JournalReview of Political Economy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations


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