Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Markets for economists: expert witness edition

From my spam box today:

You can go to Expert Witness Bootcamp and learn to be an expert witness for only $1,890!

Actually, if it really qualified you to do this it would be a great bargain, as expert witnesses make a lot of money. In the tobacco lawsuits one hears tales of people making $8000 / day (i.e. $1,000 per hour) to work with the tobacco companies.

In labor economics, most of the expert witnessing centers on value of life and discrimination. Value of life refers to how much an individual should be compensated for lost earnings given their skill if they, for example, get killed or injured on the job. Discrimination cases often revolve around the definition of the appropriate labor market to which the firm's workforce should be compared when looking for differences in the fractions of particular groups.

I've only ever been contacted about being an expert witness once, and I turned it down. I prefer the other sorts of consulting I do - helping to design evaluations and commenting on draft reports - to dealing with lawyers.

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