Descriptive Representation and Judicial Outcomes in Multi-Ethnic Societies

American Journal of Political Science, Forthcoming

47 Pages Posted: 17 May 2014 Last revised: 25 Mar 2019

See all articles by Guy Grossman

Guy Grossman

University of Pennsylvania

Oren Gazal-Ayal

University of Haifa - Faculty of Law

Sam Pimentel

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Jeremy M. Weinstein

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; Center for Global Development

Date Written: July 27, 2014

Abstract

The extent to which judicial outcomes depend on judges' identities is a central question in multi-ethnic societies. Past work on the impact of the racial composition of appellate courts has narrowly focused on civil rights cases in the USA. We expand this literature by testing for ethnicity-based panel effects in criminal appeals in Israel. Using randomness in the assignment of cases to panels, we find that appeal outcomes for Jewish defendants are independent of panels' ethnic composition. By contrast, panel composition is highly consequential for Arab defendants, who receive more lenient punishments when their case is heard by a panel that includes at least one Arab judge, compared to all-Jewish panels. The magnitude of these effects is sizable: a 14-20% reduction in incarceration and a 15-26% reduction in prison sentencing. These findings contribute to recent debates on the relationship between descriptive representation and substantive outcomes in judicial bodies.

Suggested Citation

Grossman, Guy and Gazal-Ayal, Oren and Pimentel, Sam and Weinstein, Jeremy M., Descriptive Representation and Judicial Outcomes in Multi-Ethnic Societies (July 27, 2014). American Journal of Political Science, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2437859 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2437859

Guy Grossman (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

133 S. 36th Street
Perelman Center for Political Science and Economic
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
(215) 898-4209 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://web.sas.upenn.edu/ggros/

Oren Gazal-Ayal

University of Haifa - Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Carmel
Haifa, 31905
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://weblaw.haifa.ac.il/en/Faculty/GazalAyal/Pages/default.aspx

Sam Pimentel

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

Jeremy M. Weinstein

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Center for Global Development

2055 L St. NW
5th floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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