The Negative Effect Fallacy: A Case Study of Incorrect Statistical Reasoning by Federal Courts

September 01, 2017

Appellate arguments, and judicial opinions, often proceed from the premise that “it is never easy to prove a negative.”   But that’s not always the case, as there is a difference between the “philosophical and arithmetic definitions of the word negative[.]”

This article is an essential first step to understanding the difference, both to inform current legal argument and to permit reexamination of and precedent.  Written by scholars but with an approach for those not well-versed in statistical reasoning, it is essential for cases that may rely on policy or on predicting consequences of a judicial rule.


14 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 618 (2017)