Fairness and the Willingness to Accept Plea Bargain Offers

Avishalom Tor, Oren Gazal-Ayal, Stephen M. Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In contrast with the common assumption in the plea bargaining literature, we show fairness-related concerns systematically impact defendants' preferences and judgments. In the domain of preference, innocents are less willing to accept plea offers (WTAP) than guilty defendants and all defendants reject otherwise attractive offers that appear comparatively unfair. We also show that defendants who are uncertain of their culpability exhibit egocentrically biased judgments and reject plea offers as if they were innocent. The article concludes by briefly discussing the normative implications of these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-116
JournalJournal of Empirical Legal Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • Fairness
  • Decision Making
  • Judgment
  • Experimental
  • Behavioral
  • self-serving bias
  • risk
  • prospect theory
  • law
  • criminal procedure
  • plea bargaining


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