You are in Charge: Experimentally Testing the Motivating Power of Holding a Judicial Office

66 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2013 Last revised: 20 Jan 2017

See all articles by Christoph Engel

Christoph Engel

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Students; Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Lilia Zhurakhovska

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Duisburg-Essen

Date Written: January 2017

Abstract

Apparently judges' decisions are not motivated by maximizing their own profit. The literature uses two strategies to explain this observation: judges care about the long‐term monetary consequences for themselves, or individuals who are more strongly motivated by the common good self‐select into the profession. We suggest that there is an additional explanation, the "office motive". In a lab experiment, we rule out both traditional explanations by design. Nonetheless authorities do a reliable job at overcoming a social dilemma. Calling the authorities "public official" or "judge" increases their sensitivity towards the degree by which individuals are selfish, and it reduces the effect of their social value orientation (making them more neutral). This suggests that the socially desirable effect is not driven by anger or sympathy with the victims, but follows from the desire to fulfill the expectations that come with the assigned task. We test three extensions: When given an opportunity to announce an explicit policy, judges become less sensitive to the objective degree of reproach, and more sensitive to their social value orientation. If judges are elected or experienced, they react more intensely to norm violations. Experienced judges are more affected by their social value orientation.

Keywords: judicial behavior, office motive, public-goods experiment, judicial frame, election, experience

JEL Classification: C91, D03, D63, D73, H11, H41, K41

Suggested Citation

Engel, Christoph and Zhurakhovska, Lilia, You are in Charge: Experimentally Testing the Motivating Power of Holding a Judicial Office (January 2017). MPI Collective Goods Preprint, No. 2016/15; USC CLASS Research Paper No. CLASS16-30. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2214525 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2214525

Christoph Engel (Contact Author)

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany
+049 228 914160 (Phone)
+049 228 9141655 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.coll.mpg.de/engel.html

University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics

Postfach 2220
D-53012 Bonn
Germany

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Students ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
PO Box 1738
Rotterdam
Netherlands

Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Osnabruck, D-49069
Germany

Lilia Zhurakhovska

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
Bonn, 53113
Germany

University of Duisburg-Essen ( email )

Lotharstrasse 1
Duisburg, 47048
Germany

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
85
Abstract Views
1,050
rank
296,683
PlumX Metrics