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Measuring Judicial Ideology Using Law Clerk Hiring

61 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2016 Last revised: 11 Sep 2017

Adam Bonica

Stanford University Department of Political Science

Adam S. Chilton

University of Chicago - Law School

Jacob Goldin

Stanford Law School

Kyle Rozema

University of Chicago - Law School

Maya Sen

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: July 21, 2016

Abstract

We present a new measure of judicial ideology based on judicial hiring behavior. Specifically, we utilize the ideology of the law clerks hired by federal judges to estimate the ideology of the judges themselves. These Clerk-Based Ideology (CBI) scores complement existing measures of judicial ideology in several ways. First, CBI scores can be estimated for judges across the federal judicial hierarchy. Second, CBI scores can capture temporal changes in ideology. Third, CBI scores avoid case selection and strategic behavior concerns that plague existing vote-based measures. We illustrate the promise of CBI scores through a number of applications.

Keywords: Political Ideologies, Law Clerks, Judges, Judicial Behavior, Judicial Ideology

JEL Classification: M51

Suggested Citation

Bonica, Adam and Chilton, Adam S. and Goldin, Jacob and Rozema, Kyle and Sen, Maya, Measuring Judicial Ideology Using Law Clerk Hiring (July 21, 2016). University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. RWP16-031; American Law and Economics Review 19(1):129-161, 2017; University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. RWP16-031; HKS Working Paper No. 16-031. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2808200

Adam Bonica

Stanford University Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Adam Chilton (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.adamchilton.org

Jacob Goldin

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Kyle Rozema

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.kylerozema.com

Maya Sen

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://scholar.harvard.edu/msen

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