Attributes Beyond Attitudes: Measuring Personality Traits on the U.S. Supreme Court

27 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2017

See all articles by Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall

University of Notre Dame

Gary Hollibaugh

University of Notre Dame - Department of Political Science

Jonathan Klingler

Vanderbilt University

Adam Ramey

New York University Abu Dhabi

Date Written: December 26, 2016

Abstract

Models of behavior on the U.S. Supreme Court almost universally assume that the justices' behavior depends on the characteristics of the individual justices. However, few prior studies have attempted to measure the justices' individual characteristics beyond their ideological preferences. In contrast, we apply recent advances in machine learning to measure the "Big Five" personality traits of U.S. Supreme Court justices serving during the 1946 through 2015 terms based on the language in their written opinions. We then conduct an empirical application to demonstrate the importance of these Supreme Court Individual Personality Estimates (SCIPEs) in predicting the justices' behaviors.

Keywords: U.S. Supreme Court, Personality, Textual Analysis

Suggested Citation

Hall, Matthew and Hollibaugh, Gary and Klingler, Jonathan and Ramey, Adam, Attributes Beyond Attitudes: Measuring Personality Traits on the U.S. Supreme Court (December 26, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3018156 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3018156

Matthew Hall (Contact Author)

University of Notre Dame ( email )

217 O'Shaughnessy Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

Gary Hollibaugh

University of Notre Dame - Department of Political Science ( email )

2060 Jenkins Nanovic Halls
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

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

Jonathan Klingler

Vanderbilt University ( email )

PMB 505
230 Appleton Place
Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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

Adam Ramey

New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

PO Box 129188
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

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