James M. Anderson

James M. Anderson
Director, Justice Policy Program; Director, RAND Institute for Civil Justice; Senior Behavioral Scientist
Pittsburgh Office


J.D., Yale Law School; B.A. in ethics, politics, economics, Yale College

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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James Anderson is director of the Justice Policy Program and the RAND Institute for Civil Justice and a senior behavioral/social scientist at the RAND Corporation. He has been the principal investigator on a wide range of projects, ranging from policy implications of autonomous vehicle technology to understanding the effects of indigent defense systems. He has been funded by the National Institute of Justice, the National Institutes of Health, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the State of Pennsylvania, the Institute for Civil Justice, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation. His work has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the Journal of Law and Economics, the Oxford University Press, and in numerous RAND publications. He has presented to a wide variety of academic and professional audiences. He is a member of the American Law Institute. Before joining RAND, he clerked for the Honorable Morton Greenberg of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and practiced law for ten years as an assistant federal defender representing death-sentenced prisoners. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A. in ethics, politics, and economics from Yale University.

Recent Projects

  • Compensation for Accidental Injury and Illness
  • Liability Implications of Cybersecurity Risks in Transportation
  • Improving the Production and Use of Forensic Science
  • Policy Implications of Autonomous Vehicle Technology
  • Indigent Defense in Louisiana

Selected Publications

James Anderson, Maya Buenaventura, and Paul Heaton, "Evaluating the Effect of Holistic Indigent Defense on Criminal Justice Outcomes," Harvard Law Review, 132, 2019

James Anderson and Paul Heaton, "How Much Difference Does the Lawyer Make? The Effect of Defense Counsel on Murder Case Outcomes," Yale Law Journal, 122, 2012

Anderson, James M., Nidhi Kalra, Karlyn D. Stanley, Paul Sorensen, Constantine Samaras, and Tobi A. Oluwatola, Autonomous Vehicle Technology: A Guide for Policymakers, RAND Corporation (RR-443-2-RC), 2016

James M. Anderson, John M. MacDonald, Ricky Bluthenthal, and J. Scott Ashwood, "Reducing Crime by Shaping the Built Environment with Zoning: An Empirical Study of Los Angeles," University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 161(3), 2013

Anderson, James M., Paul Heaton, and Stephen J. Carroll, The U.S. Experience with No-Fault Automobile Insurance: A Retrospective, RAND Corporation (MG-860-ICJ), 2010

James Anderson and Eric Helland, "How Much Should Judges be Paid? An Empirical Study on the Effect of Judicial Pay on the State Bench," Stanford Law Review, 64(5), 2012

James Anderson, Jeffrey Kling, & Kate Stith, "Measuring Interjudge Sentencing Disparity: Before and After the Federal Sentencing Guidelines," Journal of Law & Economics, 42, 1999

James Anderson, Eric Helland, and Merritt McAlister, "Measuring How Stock Ownership Affects Which Judges and Justice Hear Cases," Georgetown Law Journal, 103, 2015

Honors & Awards

  • RAND Bronze Award, RAND
  • Stephen J. Carroll Distinguished Scholar at RAND, RAND Institute for Civil Justice

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Insurance & Financial Advisor; The New York Times; Righteous Convictions; Talks on Law

Video Interviews: The Value of Forensics; Driverless Cars–A Shift In Risk


  • Racial Discrimination

    The Compounding Effects of Racism: Q&A with James Anderson, Rachel Perera, and Heather Gomez-Bendaña

    RAND's James Anderson, Rachel Perera, and Heather Gomez-Bendaña are working to create an interactive tool that illustrates how the effects of bias compound over time. Their aim is to improve understanding of how seemingly small disparities can add up to create significant inequality.

    Sep 10, 2021

  • Law Enforcement

    From Warrior to Guardian: A Systems Approach to Reduce Police Violence

    Personal accountability will always have a role in policing. But the kind of cultural change that is necessary to prevent tragedy is often best tackled by focusing on the system rather than merely blaming the individual officer.

    Jul 1, 2020


  • Fixing Judicial Recusals

    Recently, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito recused himself in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply Association, a case with important implications for the power industry, while Justice Stephen Breyer failed to do so, apparently in error. This misstep illustrates some of the problems with the judicial recusal system.

    Feb 10, 2016

    Inside Sources

  • Transportation Safety

    What If Distracted Driving Was Safe?

    According to consumer research, the ability to consume media, write an email, or even sleep during transport is a key selling point for autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars), which could be widely available in the fairly near future. Autonomous vehicle technology could also produce a wide range of public benefits.

    Jul 1, 2014

    The RAND Blog

  • Transportation Planning

    With Self-Driving Cars, Promise Outweighs Peril

    The promise of autonomous vehicles is finally near to being realized and the substantial benefits to society in terms of safety, mobility, and fuel economy cannot be ignored. It is not too early for policy makers to begin to think about the challenges that lie ahead.

    Jan 29, 2014

    The Detroit News