Judicial and clinical decision-making under uncertainty

Charles F. Manski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Norms for judicial and clinical decisions under uncertainty differ. When clinicians are uncertain about patient health, they view the patient as a member of a population with similar attributes and make care decisions using available knowledge about the distribution of health in this population. In contrast, legal systems typically do not permit a defendant to be convicted of a crime based on a justification that persons with similar attributes often commit this crime. This paper examines the implications if, emulating clinical practice, judges making conviction decisions were to use knowledge of rates of crime commission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Frequentist and subjective probability
  • Judges and clinicians
  • Probability thresholds
  • Reasonable decisions under uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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