The New York Times has a calculator
to explain how getting on a jury works. They have a slider at the top
indicating how likely each of the two lawyers think you are to side
with them, and as you answer questions it moves around. For example,
if you select that your occupation is "blue collar" then it says "more
likely to side with plaintiff" while "white collar" gives "more likely
to side with defendant". As you give it more information the pointer
labeled "you" slides back and forth, representing the lawyers' ongoing
revision of their estimates of you. Let's see what this looks like.
- Selecting "Over 30"
- Selecting "Under 30"
For several other questions, however, the options aren't matched. If
your household income is under $50k then it will give you "more likely
to side with plaintiff" while if it's over $50k then it will say "no
effect on either lawyer". This is not how conservation
of expected evidence works: if learning something pushes you in
one direction, then learning its opposite has to push you in the
Let's try this with some numbers. Say people's leanings are:
||probability of siding with plaintiff
||probability of siding with defendant
Before asking you your income the lawyers' best guess is you're
equally likely to be earning >$50k as <$50k because $50k's the
median . This means they'd guess you're 60% likely to side with
the plaintiff: half the people in your position earn over >$50k and
will be approximately evenly split while the other half of people who
could be in your position earn under <$50k and would favor the
plaintiff 70-30, and averaging these two cases gives us 60%.
So the lawyers best guess for you is that you're at 60%, and then they
ask the question. If you say ">$50k" then they update their
estimate for you down to 50%, if you say "<$50k" they update it up
to 70%. "No effect on either lawyer" can't be an option here unless
the question gives no information.
 Almost; the median income in the US in 2012 was
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