Are Sleepy Punishers Really Harsh Punishers?: Comment
Harvard Law School John M. Olin Center Discussion Paper No. 898
6 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2017 Last revised: 25 May 2017
Date Written: February 16, 2017
This comment points out four severe reservations regarding Cho et al.’s (PS 2017) finding that U.S. federal judges punish more harshly on “sleepy Mondays,” the Mondays after the start of Daylights Savings Time. First, Cho et al.’s finding pertains to only one of at least two dimensions of harshness, and the opposite result obtains in the second dimension. Second, even within the first dimension, Cho et al.’s result is statistically significant only because of a variable transformation and sample restrictions that are neither transparent in the article nor theoretically sound. Third, reanalysis of the data with superior methods reveals no significant “sleepy Monday” effect in the years 1992-2003. Fourth, sentences were on average shorter on “sleepy Mondays” out of sample, namely in 2004-2016.
Keywords: Judicial Decision-Making, Bias, Sentencing, Sleep, Replication
JEL Classification: C18, K14, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation