Do Judicial Sentiments Affect Social Attitudes?

29 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2019 Last revised: 12 Aug 2019

See all articles by Sergio Galletta

Sergio Galletta

ETH Zurich

Elliott Ash

ETH Zurich

Daniel L. Chen

Directeur de Recherche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Toulouse School of Economics, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, University of Toulouse Capitole, Toulouse, France

Date Written: July 5, 2019

Abstract

This paper provides an empirical analysis of how the sentiments expressed in judicial rulings affect social attitudes. We apply natural language processing tools to the text of U.S. appellate court opinions to extrapolate judges’ sentiments toward a number of specific target groups. Exogenous variation in those sentiments comes from an instrumental variables approach, which exploits the random assignment of judges to cases (and the fact that judge characteristics provide good cross-validated predictors of expressed sentiments). Our estimates are consistent with a backlash effect from judge sentiments to social attitudes. This effect does not persist over time and is heterogeneous depending on the target group considered.

Suggested Citation

Galletta, Sergio and Ash, Elliott and Chen, Daniel L., Do Judicial Sentiments Affect Social Attitudes? (July 5, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3415393 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3415393

Sergio Galletta (Contact Author)

ETH Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 101
ZUE F7
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

Elliott Ash

ETH Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 101
ZUE F7
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

Daniel L. Chen

Directeur de Recherche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Toulouse School of Economics, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, University of Toulouse Capitole, Toulouse, France ( email )

21 allée de Brienne
31015 Toulouse cedex 6 France
Toulouse, 31015
France

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