Gender In-Group Bias: Evidence from Judicial Decisions

44 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2021 Last revised: 25 Sep 2022

See all articles by Xiqian Cai

Xiqian Cai

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

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

Does gender affect judicial decisions? If so, how and to what extent do judges give preferential treatment to plaintiffs of the same gender? Does the bias, if present, vary across cultures and institutions in developing economies? Evidence on these questions is rare. In this paper, we provide novel evidence of gender in-group bias in judicial decisions. We use a novel and naturally occurring dataset that contains around 0.72 million online transcripts of judicial decisions for divorces case and exploits the effectively random assignment of cases to judges to deal with identification. The analysis provides evidence in support of gender bias: A claim with a male plaintiff is 3.9% more likely to be accepted if it is assigned to a male judge as opposed to a female
judge. Heterogeneity analysis suggests a significantly larger bias in regions with initially higher gender discrimination and sex ratio, and there is no heterogeneity across regions with different legal development, which indicates that traditional culture and attitudes might be one determinant of the bias. The findings from this paper raise policy concerns about the fairness of trials in courts with a small proportion of female judges, especially those in developing countries and regions.

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

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

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
167
Abstract Views
551
rank
257,598
PlumX Metrics