Tracking Inconsistent Judicial Behavior
International Review of Law & Economics (2012)
31 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2009 Last revised: 17 Nov 2012
Date Written: October 19, 2012
This paper explores the phenomenon of inconsistent judicial decisions. We analyze inconsistency in 174 legal decisions from the California Court of Appeal that determine whether or not an arbitration provision in a contract is enforceable as written. We map the facts of cases and introduce a new methodology for measuring inconsistency, directly comparing each case with every precedent. Our results indicate that cases are inconsistent with about one-quarter of relevant precedents. Inconsistency is highly correlated with conflicting political ideology of the judges on the benches that hear the two cases. Inconsistency also correlates with the publication of cases and the non-publication of precedents.
Keywords: Judicial behavior, Inconsistency, Arbitration, Contract enforcement
JEL Classification: K40, K41, K12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation