Gender Diversity on High Courts

46 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2017

See all articles by Nancy B. Arrington

Nancy B. Arrington

Emory University - Department of Political Science

Leeann Bass

Emory University

Adam Glynn

Harvard University

Jeffrey K. Staton

Emory University - Department of Political Science; Göteborg University - V-Dem Institute

Brian Delgado

Emory University

Staffan I. Lindberg

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute; Göteborg University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: October 2017

Abstract

Increasing the diversity of political institutions is believed to improve the quality of political discourse and, subsequently, the quality of political outcomes. Moreover, the presence of diverse officials in positions of power signals the openness and fairness of political institutions. These benefits of diversity should be particularly acute in the judiciary, where judges are tasked with the symbolically and substantively powerful duty of interpreting and defending constitutional values. Extant scholarship suggests that well-designed appointment process can promote diversity without explicitly gendered goals, much less quotas. If correct, these proposals raise the possibility of promoting greater diversity without having to resolve politically charged debates about quotas. Yet, scholars disagree about the effects of particular design choices. Worse, estimating causal effects of institutions in observational data is particularly difficult. We develop a research design linked to the empirical implications of existing theoretical arguments to evaluate the effect of institutional change on the gender diversity of peak courts cross-nationally. Specifically, we consider the effect of an increase (or a decrease) in the number of actors involved in the appointment process. We find mixed results for any existing claim about the role of appointment institutions play in increasing diversity. Yet we also find that any institutional change seems to cause an increase in the gender diversity of peak courts.

Suggested Citation

Arrington, Nancy B. and Bass, Leeann and Glynn, Adam and Staton, Jeffrey K. and Delgado, Brian and Lindberg, Staffan I., Gender Diversity on High Courts (October 2017). V-Dem Working Paper 2017:54. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3050370 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3050370

Nancy B. Arrington (Contact Author)

Emory University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Atlanta, GA
United States

Leeann Bass

Emory University ( email )

Atlanta, GA
United States

Adam Glynn

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jeffrey K. Staton

Emory University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-6559 (Phone)
404-727-4586 (Fax)

Göteborg University - V-Dem Institute ( email )

United States

Brian Delgado

Emory University ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Staffan I. Lindberg

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute ( email )

Sprängkullsgatan 19
Gothenburg, Gothenburg 405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se/varianter-pa-demokrati--v-dem-/

Göteborg University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Gothenburg, S-405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se

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