Are Sleepy Punishers Really Harsh Punishers?: Comment

Psychological Science 29:1006-09 (2018)

Harvard Law School John M. Olin Center Discussion Paper No. 898

Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 17-15

6 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2017 Last revised: 4 Sep 2019

Date Written: February 16, 2017

Abstract

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

Spamann, Holger, Are Sleepy Punishers Really Harsh Punishers?: Comment (February 16, 2017). Psychological Science 29:1006-09 (2018), Harvard Law School John M. Olin Center Discussion Paper No. 898, Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 17-15, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2916375 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2916375

Holger Spamann (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

ECGI ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

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