Dissent Aversion and Sequential Voting in the Brazilian Supreme Court

23 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2018

See all articles by Felipe Lopes

Felipe Lopes

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), Sao Paulo School of Economics, Students

Date Written: June 18, 2018

Abstract

In this study, I investigate the determinants of judicial dissent in the Brazilian Supreme Court. Particularly, I seek to disentangle two features of judicial behavior that are known to affect the decision to dissent: ideological heterogeneity and dissent aversion. To do so, I explore the fact that voting in this Court is sequential, that there is a predetermined voting order that varies in nearly every case, to identify where dissent aversion will manifest. The main idea is that after a majority has been formed, the justices who vote in sequence know that their votes cannot change the outcome of the case. Hence, they may deviate from their preferred votes and join the majority to avoid the costs of dissenting. Using vote-level data of all abstract review cases heard by the Court from 1990 until 2015, I find strong evidence of dissent aversion in the Brazilian Supreme Court. Judges who vote after the pivotal judge are significantly less likely to dissent. The evidence for ideology, however, does not survive all robustness checks.

Keywords: dissent aversion, ideological heterogeneity, sequential voting

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Lopes, Felipe, Dissent Aversion and Sequential Voting in the Brazilian Supreme Court (June 18, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3198330 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3198330

Felipe Lopes (Contact Author)

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), Sao Paulo School of Economics, Students ( email )

Rua Itapeva 474
São Paulo
Brazil

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
30
Abstract Views
238
PlumX Metrics