EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Peer Effects on the United States Supreme Court

Richard Holden, Michael Keane () and Matthew Lilley ()
Additional contact information
Matthew Lilley: Harvard University

No 2019-01, Discussion Papers from School of Economics, The University of New South Wales

Abstract: Using data on essentially every US Supreme Court decision since 1946, we estimate a model of peer effects on the Court. We consider both the impact of justice ideology and justice votes on the votes of their peers. To identify these peer effects we use two instruments that generate plausibly exogenous variation in the peer group itself, or in the votes of peers. The first instrument utilizes the fact that the composition of the Court varies from case to case due to recusals or absences for health reasons. The second utilizes the fact that many justices previously sat on Federal Circuit Courts. Those who served on the Circuit Courts for short (long) periods of time are empirically much more (less) likely to affirm decisions from their “home” court. We find large peer effects. Replacing a single justice with one who votes in a conservative direction 10 percentage points more frequently increases the probability that each other justice votes conservative by 1.6 percentage points. Further, a 10% increase in the probability that a given justice votes conservative leads to a 1.1 percentage point increase in the probability that each other justice votes conservative. This indirect effect increases the share of cases with a conservative outcome by 3.6 percentage points (excluding the direct effect of the new justice). In general, we find indirect effects are large relative to the direct mechanical effect of a justice’s own vote.

Keywords: Supreme Court; Peer Effects; Recusal (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 61 pages
Date: 2019-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law and nep-net
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations:

Downloads: (external link)
http://research.economics.unsw.edu.au/RePEc/papers/2019-01.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: Peer effects on the United States Supreme Court (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: Peer Effects on the United States Supreme Court (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Peer Effects on the United States Supreme Court (2017) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:swe:wpaper:2019-01

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Discussion Papers from School of Economics, The University of New South Wales Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Hongyi Li ().

 
Page updated 2024-07-12
Handle: RePEc:swe:wpaper:2019-01