Do Judges Exhibit Gender Bias? Evidence from the Universe of Divorce Cases in China

42 Pages Posted: 1 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

School of Business, University of Hong Kong

Hong Song

Fudan University

Abstract

Does gender identity affect judicial decisions? This paper provides novel evidence of in-group gender bias in judicial decisions for almost all the divorce cases in China. Exploiting effectively random assignment of cases to judges, the analysis finds that a claim with a male plaintiff is 3.9% more likely to be accepted if it is randomly assigned to a male judge as opposed to a female judge. Heterogeneity analysis finds significantly larger bias in regions with initially higher gender discrimination, indicating that traditional social norm is a source of in-group gender bias. The analysis finds similarity in gender bias across regions with different levels of legal development, indicating that compared with institutions, culture and attitudes might be more important determinants of gender bias. The findings 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, gender discrimination, judicial decisions

Suggested Citation

Cai, Xiqian and Li, Pei and Lu, Yi and Song, Hong, Do Judges Exhibit Gender Bias? Evidence from the Universe of Divorce Cases in China. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4206653 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4206653

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

School of Business, University of Hong Kong ( email )

Rm 730, Meng Wah Complex
Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
(852) 2241-5245 (Phone)
(852) 2858-5614 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.fbe.hku.hk/~luyi

Hong Song (Contact Author)

Fudan University ( email )

Beijing West District Baiyun Load 10th
Shanghai, 100045
China

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