Mood and the Malleability of Moral Reasoning
62 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2016 Last revised: 10 Feb 2020
Date Written: September 21, 2019
We detect intra-judge variation spanning three decades in 1.5 million judicial decisions driven by factors unrelated to case merits. U.S. immigration judges deny an additional 1.4% of asylum petitions–and U.S. district judges assign 0.6% longer prison sentences and 5% shorter probation sentences—on the day after their city’s NFL team lost. Bad weather has a similar effect as a team loss. Unrepresented parties in asylum bear the brunt of NFL effects, and the effect on district judges appears larger for those likely to be following the NFL team. We employ double residualization for a “causal” importance score.
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