Representation on the Courts? The Effects of Trial Judges' Sex and Race
34 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2015 Last revised: 20 Jan 2016
Date Written: January 4, 2016
Scholars have long sought to resolve whether and to what degree political actor diversity influences the outputs of political institutions like legislatures, administrative agencies, and courts. When it comes to the judiciary, diverse judges may greatly affect outcomes. Despite this potential, no consensus exists for whether judicial diversity affects behavior in trial courts -- i.e., the stage where the vast majority of litigants interact with the judicial branch. After addressing the research design limitations in previous trial court-diversity studies, the statistical results here indicate that a trial judge's sex and race have very large effects on his or her decision making. These results have important implications for how we view diversity throughout the judiciary and are particularly timely given the Obama Administration's nearly 200 female and minority appointments to the federal trial courts.
Keywords: judging; district courts; diversity
JEL Classification: K00, K40, K41, K31, J71, C00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation