The Role of Personal Attributes and Social Backgrounds on Judging
31 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 20, 2016
Social background theory formalizes and tests the intuition that jurists’ attributes and experiences will affect their rulings. This chapter explores the source and development of social background theory. The theory can be seen as evolving through four stages: legal realism, behavioralism, new institutionalism, and computation. After briefly assessing the contributions and limitations of the theory, the chapter ends with a proposal for a relevancy threshold for social background research.
Keywords: judicial decisionmaking, social background theory, empirical legal studies, judges, courts, judicial attributes, relevancy theory, institutional economics, behavioral jurisprudence, legal realism, new institutionalism
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