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Stare Decisis and Judicial Log-Rolls: A Gains-from-Trade Model

51 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2017  

Charles M. Cameron

Princeton University - Department of Political Science; Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Lewis A. Kornhauser

New York University School of Law

Giri Parameswaran

Haverford College - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 9, 2017

Abstract

The practice of horizontal stare decisis requires that judges occasionally decide cases "incorrectly''. What sustains this practice? Given a heterogeneous bench, we show that the increasing differences in dispositions property of preferences generates gains when judges trade dispositions over the case space. These gains are fully realized by implementing a compromise rule – stare decisis. Absent commitment, we provide conditions that sustain the compromise in a repeated game. When complete compromises become unsustainable, partial compromises still avail. Moreover, judges may prefer to implement partial compromises even when perfect ones are sustainable. Thus, stare decisis is consistent with a partially-settled-partially-contested legal doctrine.

Keywords: Judge-Made Law, Endogenous Precedent, Stare Decisis, Gains from Trade

JEL Classification: K10, K40

Suggested Citation

Cameron, Charles M. and Kornhauser, Lewis A. and Parameswaran, Giri, Stare Decisis and Judicial Log-Rolls: A Gains-from-Trade Model (June 9, 2017). NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-24; NYLS Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2983812. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2983812

Charles Cameron

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1013
United States

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Lewis Kornhauser

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
(212) 998-6175 (Phone)
(212) 995-4341 (Fax)

Giri Parameswaran (Contact Author)

Haverford College - Department of Economics ( email )

370 Lancaster Ave
Haverford, PA 19041
United States

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