Gender In-Group Bias: Evidence from Judicial Decisions

40 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2021

See all articles by Xiqian Cai

Xiqian Cai

Xiamen University

Pei Li

Xiamen University - Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics (WISE)

Yi Lu

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics

Hong Song

Fudan University

Date Written: June 18, 2021

Abstract

How does gender affect judicial decisions? Whether and to what extent judges have preferential treatment to plaintiffs of the same gender? In this paper, we provide novel evidence of gender in-group bias in judicial decisions. We use a naturally occurring dataset of online transcripts of judicial decisions and exploit effectively random assignment of cases to judges. The analysis provides evidence in support of gender bias: a claim with a male plaintiff is 3.6\% more likely to be accepted if it is assigned to a male judge, as opposed to a female judge. The bias is slightly larger in regions with initially more biased gender attitudes. Judges' working experience or workload does not affect the magnitude of bias. We provide evidence in support of in-group gender bias explanation and rule out the possibility that the results are driven by differences in the information available to the judge or differences in plaintiffs' behaviors. These findings raise policy concerns about the fairness of trials in courts with a small proportion of female judges.

Keywords: gender, in-group bias, judicial decision, discrimination

JEL Classification: J16, J21, J18

Suggested Citation

Cai, Xiqian and Li, Pei and Lu, Yi and Song, Hong, Gender In-Group Bias: Evidence from Judicial Decisions (June 18, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3869294 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3869294

Xiqian Cai

Xiamen University ( email )

Xiamen, Fujian 361005
China

Pei Li

Xiamen University - Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics (WISE) ( email )

A 307, Economics Building
Xiamen, Fujian 10246
China

Yi Lu

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics ( email )

1 Arts Link, AS2 #06-02
Singapore 117570, Singapore 119077
Singapore
65-65166834 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://ylu6.weebly.com

Hong Song (Contact Author)

Fudan University ( email )

600 Guoquan Road
Shanghai, 100045
China

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