Political Discrimination in the Law Review Selection Process

40 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2018 Last revised: 22 Jun 2018

See all articles by Adam S. Chilton

Adam S. Chilton

University of Chicago - Law School

Jonathan S. Masur

University of Chicago - Law School

Kyle Rozema

University of Chicago - Law School

Date Written: February 12, 2018

Abstract

The career trajectories of law professors and the dissemination of knowledge depend on the publication decisions of law review editors. However, these publication decisions are shrouded in mystery, and little is known about the factors that affect them. In this article, we investigate one potentially important factor: political ideology. To do so, we match data on the political ideology of student editors from 15 top law reviews over a twenty-year period to data on the political ideology of the authors of accepted articles. We find that editors accept articles in part because of shared political ideology with authors. That is, conservative editors are more likely to accept articles written by conservative authors, and liberal editors are more likely to accept articles written by liberal authors. We then investigate potential explanations for this ideological discrimination. One possibility is that student editors simply have a preference for publishing articles that promote their political ideology. Another possibility is that student editors are objectively better at assessing the contribution of articles written by authors with shared ideology. We find evidence that the ideological discrimination is driven by student editors' superior ability to ascertain the quality of articles that match their own ideology.

Keywords: Academia, Publication Process, Bias, Statistical Discrimination, Political Ideology, Law Professor, Law Review

JEL Classification: I23, J15, J70, J71, K0, M51

Suggested Citation

Chilton, Adam S. and Masur, Jonathan S. and Rozema, Kyle, Political Discrimination in the Law Review Selection Process (February 12, 2018). University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 832. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3119903 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3119903

Adam S. Chilton

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.adamchilton.org

Jonathan S. Masur

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773.702.5188 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/masur/

Kyle Rozema (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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

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