Document de travail

Do jurors and professional judges differ in their treatment of crime?

Evidence from French reform

Arnaud Philippe


Do citizens and professional judges agree on the accuracy of sentences? While surveys regularly point out a demand by citizens for harsher punishment, the differences between surveys’ and real decisions’ conditions are large enough to cast a doubt on the results. The introduction of two jurors into a court composed of three professional judges in two French regions and for a subsample of crimes in 2012 offers a good natural experiment for documenting the question of the differences between professional judges and citizens. Difference-in-differences or tripledifference methods do not permit me to identify any change in the probability of being convicted or in sentences given by a court including jurors. If some characteristics of the reform could partly explain those null results, they clearly go against the hypothesis of a major disagreement between professional judges and citizens when they have to make real decisions in criminal cases.


courts; sentencing; crime; judicial decision; jury members;

Codes JEL

  • D83: Search • Learning • Information and Knowledge • Communication • Belief
  • K14: Criminal Law
  • K4: Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior

Remplacé par

Arnaud Philippe, « Does introducing lay people in criminal courts affect judicial decisions?: Evidence from French reform », International Review of Law and Economics, vol. 52, octobre 2017, p. 1–15.


Arnaud Philippe, « Do jurors and professional judges differ in their treatment of crime?: Evidence from French reform », TSE Working Paper, n° 17-763, février 2017.

Voir aussi

Publié dans

TSE Working Paper, n° 17-763, février 2017