Modeling Supreme Court Strategic Decision Making: The Congressional Constraint
Universidad de la Republica (University of Uruguay) - Department of Economics
Barak D. Richman
Duke University - School of Law
Pablo T. Spiller
University of California, Berkeley - Business & Public Policy Group
This paper addresses the contradictory results obtained by Segal (1997) and Spiller & Gely (1992) concerning the impact of institutional constraints on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision making. By adapting the Spiller & Gely maximum likelihood model to the Segal dataset, we find support for the hypothesis that the Court adjusts its decisions to presidential and congressional preferences. Data from 1947 to 1992 indicate that the average probability of the Court being constrained has been approximately one-third. Further, we show that the results obtained by Segal are the product of biases introduced by a misspecified econometric model. We also discuss how our estimation highlights the usefulness of Krehbiel's model of legislative decision making.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Date posted: August 22, 2003
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