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Ramadan fasting increases leniency in judges from Pakistan and India

Sultan Mehmood, Avner Seror and Daniel Chen
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Daniel Chen: Computer Science Department [Stanford] - Stanford University, CFE - CNRS-formation Entreprise - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, TSE-R - Toulouse School of Economics - UT Capitole - Université Toulouse Capitole - UT - Université de Toulouse - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, IAST - Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse

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Abstract: Using data on roughly half a million cases and 10,000 judges from Pakistan and India, Mehmood et al. estimate the impact of the Ramadan fasting ritual on criminal sentencing decisions. They find that fasting increases judicial leniency and reduces reversals of decisions in higher courts. We estimate the impact of the Ramadan fasting ritual on criminal sentencing decisions in Pakistan and India from half a century of daily data. We use random case assignment and exogenous variation in fasting intensity during Ramadan due to the rotating Islamic calendar and the geographical latitude of the district courts to document the large effects of Ramadan fasting on decision-making. Our sample comprises roughly a half million cases and 10,000 judges from Pakistan and India. Ritual intensity increases Muslim judges' acquittal rates, lowers their appeal and reversal rates, and does not come at the cost of increased recidivism or heightened outgroup bias. Overall, our results indicate that the Ramadan fasting ritual followed by a billion Muslims worldwide induces more lenient decisions.

Keywords: religious rituals; Ramadan; decision-making; religious rituals Ramadan decision-making (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea and nep-law
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Published in Nature Human Behaviour, 2023, 7 (6), pp.874-880. ⟨10.1038/s41562-023-01547-3⟩

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hal:journl:hal-04371833

DOI: 10.1038/s41562-023-01547-3

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