The Hidden Tax of Jury Service
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Not all taxes are conveniently labeled as such. For example, consider jury duty. Although it is seldom discussed in these terms, jury duty clearly fits the textbook definition of a tax—jurors are required to surrender a valuable asset (their time) to the government with little or no personal benefit. In the colorful words of former budget director Richard Darman, “if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.” Jury duty is a tax that is unnecessarily high, and as long as the court system considers jurors a free good, it will remain unnecessarily high. Fortunately, a few simple reforms can raise the price of jurors from the court’s perspective and, thereby, use market forces to cut the tax. Duck hunting anyone?
Taylor, Lori L. (2015). The Hidden Tax of Jury Service. Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy. Available electronically from