When does the sex of a judge affect their rulings?


We explore the role of sex in judging by addressing two questions of long-standing interest to political scientists: whether and in what ways male and female judges decide cases distinctly—”individual effects”—and whether and in what ways serving with a female judge causes males to behave differently—”panel effects.” While we attend to the dominant theoretical accounts of why we might expect to observe either or both effects, we do not use the predominant statistical tools to assess them. Instead, we deploy a more appropriate methodology: semiparametric matching, which follows from a formal framework for causal inference. Applying matching methods to 13 areas of law, we observe consistent gender effects in only one—sex discrimination. For these disputes, the probability of a judge deciding in favor of the party alleging discrimination decreases by about 10 percentage points when the judge is a male. Likewise, when a woman serves on a panel with men, the men are significantly more likely to rule in favor of the rights litigant. These results are consistent with an informational account of gendered judging and are inconsistent with several others.

Source: “Untangling the Causal Effects of Sex on Judging” from American Journal of Political Science, Volume 54 Issue 2, Pages 389 – 411

I’ve posted a good amount on the law and crime. You may want to read my post: You just committed murder. What should you do now?

Great nonfiction books about breaking the law are “Low Life”, “Homicide”, “The Big Con”, Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate, The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison, Donnie Brasco and Wiseguy, which inspired GoodFellas.

Related posts:

Are lawyers any good at predicting the outcomes of their cases?

Can watching TV crime dramas distort perception of the criminal justice system?

Does the NFL Combine Actually Predict Performance in the National Football League?

Do doctors who fear lawsuits work less?

Why you should only reference low numbers when you’re on trial for murder:

Does it work when a defendant tries to excuse away crimes by saying he was abused as a child?

Are attractive people less likely to be convicted of a crime and more likely to get a shorter sentence?

How would the law punish Siamese twins if one committed murder without the other being involved?

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