Judicial Decision Making, Stralsund, Germany, 2022

June 15, 2022

Judges decide about other people's lives, not about their own. Does this imply that judicial decision-making is not an appropriate topic for law and economics? Many have thought otherwise. This symposium chiefly investigates the question through an empirical lens. Do black defendants face higher uncertainty in criminal procedure? Does the political party of the administration who has appointed the judge predict her rulings? Do judges know how to decide a new class of cases, or do they have to learn and gradually converge to a solution? Are judges inclined to favor plaintiff over defendant, or the law of the land over foreign law in cases that cut across jurisdictions? All these tendencies could be considered a bias. Do judges even act strategically? Do they only publish their rulings if they see a chance to change the law? Does the chief justice manipulate the outcome by bending the composition of the bench? Or are the judges essentially follow the law?

Contributions by: Yehonatan Givati, Daniel Klerman, Lewis Kornhauser, Shawn Bushway, Rachael Hinkle, Keren Weinshall and Michael Bailey.


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