The Value of Information in the Court - Get it Right, Keep it Tight

45 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2009 Last revised: 16 Jul 2010

See all articles by Matias Iaryczower

Matias Iaryczower

Princeton University

Matthew Shum

Johns Hopkins University - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 10, 2010

Abstract

We estimate an equilibrium model of decision-making in the US Supreme Court which takes into account both private information and ideological differences between justices. We present a measure of the value of information in the court. Our measure is the probability that a justice votes differently that what she would have voted for in the absence of case specific information. We show that in roughly 44% of cases, justices' initial leanings - based on their priors and ideological biases - are changed by justices' personal assessments of the case. The results suggest a sizeable value of information. We evaluate the performance of the Court in different issues and time periods, and use counterfactual simulations to draw implications for institutional design.

Keywords: supreme court, strategic voting, common values, mixture model

JEL Classification: D72, D78, C13

Suggested Citation

Iaryczower, Matias and Shum, Matthew, The Value of Information in the Court - Get it Right, Keep it Tight (July 10, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1483820 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1483820

Matias Iaryczower (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States

Matthew Shum

Johns Hopkins University - Department of Economics ( email )

3400 Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218-2685
United States
410-516-8828 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.jhu.edu/people/shum/

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
71
Abstract Views
1,120
Rank
611,908
PlumX Metrics