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Randomness Pre-Considered: Recognizing and Accounting for 'De-Randomizing' Events When Utilizing Random Judicial Assignment

41 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2015  

Dane Thorley

Yale Law School; Columbia University Political Science; Columbia Law School

Date Written: July 9, 2015

Abstract

This article adds to the growing literature challenging the general assumptions of random judicial assignment by identifying a set of common assignment procedures that I call “de-randomizing” events. These events, which include non-random assignment itself, should be accounted for in order to make unbiased causal claims but are commonly either ignored or not even recognized by researchers utilizing random judicial assignment. This article also attempts to fill in what others have noted to be a dearth of information on the assignment protocols of courts other than the U.S. Courts of Appeals by presenting original data from a survey of 60 state-level criminal courts, outlining their assignment protocols, and identifying the extent to which they feature the “de-randomizing” events mentioned above.

Keywords: experiments, randomization, courts, methods, causal inference

Suggested Citation

Thorley, Dane, Randomness Pre-Considered: Recognizing and Accounting for 'De-Randomizing' Events When Utilizing Random Judicial Assignment (July 9, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2628782 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2628782

Dane Thorley (Contact Author)

Yale Law School ( email )

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Columbia University Political Science ( email )

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Columbia Law School ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://danethorley.com

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