'Nevertheless, She Persisted': Gender and Dissent on the Swedish Supreme Court

20 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2022

See all articles by Johan Lindholm

Johan Lindholm

Umeå University

Mattias Derlén

Department of Law, Umeå University

Daniel Naurin

ARENA - Centre for European Studies; University of Gothenburg

Date Written: January 18, 2022


In line with gender-based stereotypes and ideals of female agreeability and cooperativeness, research has shown that women tend to cooperate more and compete less than men (the competitiveness theory). The article empirically studies whether Swedish Supreme Court Justices practice of writing dissenting opinions follows the gender-based patterns that can be expected from the competitiveness theory. Issuing dissenting opinions is a well-established practice on the Supreme Court, but it is also a public form of collegial disagreement that is potentially especially socially costly for female Justices. We therefore hypothesize that female Justices avoid writing dissenting opinions, particularly alone, and help foster agreement on panels compared to male Justices. These hypotheses are not supported by the data and the behavior of Swedish Supreme Court Justices thus does not follow the competitiveness theory. We propose some explanations for this result, which runs counter to previous research, and point to possible future research.

Keywords: judicial behavior; gender; dissents; Sweden; Swedish Supreme Court

JEL Classification: K00, K40

Suggested Citation

Lindholm, Johan and Derlén, Mattias and Naurin, Daniel and Naurin, Daniel, 'Nevertheless, She Persisted': Gender and Dissent on the Swedish Supreme Court (January 18, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4011620 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4011620

Johan Lindholm (Contact Author)

Umeå University ( email )

Umeå University
Department of Law
Umeå, Umeå 901 87
+46907865603 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.umu.se/en/staff/johan-lindholm/

Mattias Derlén

Department of Law, Umeå University ( email )

Samhallsvetarhuset, Plan 2
Umea University
Umeå, SE 901 87

Daniel Naurin

University of Gothenburg ( email )

Viktoriagatan 30
Göteborg, 405 30

ARENA - Centre for European Studies ( email )


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