74 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2007 Last revised: 19 Mar 2009
Date Written: December 2007
Nearly everyone thinks that judges are underpaid, but theory and evidence provide little support for this view. Theory suggests that increasing judicial salaries will improve judicial performance only if judges can be sanctioned for performing inadequately or if the appointments process reliably screens out low-ability candidates. However, federal judges and many state judges cannot be sanctioned, and the reliability of screening processes is open to question. An empirical study of the high court judges of the 50 states provides little evidence that raising salaries would improve judicial performance. The case for a pay raise has not been made.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Choi, Stephen J. and Gulati, G. Mitu and Posner, Eric A., Are Judges Overpaid?: A Skeptical Response to the Judicial Salary Debate (December 2007). U of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 376; Duke Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 178. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1077295 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1077295