We thank Matthew Blackwell, Tom Clark, David Gelman, Jennifer Hochschild, Gary King, Jeff Lax, and Kevin Quinn for helpful comments and suggestions. We are also grateful to seminar or conference participants at the Harvard Department of Government, the Harvard Kennedy School, Duke Law School, the University of Rochester Political Science Department, and the 2011 MPSA, 2011 EPSA, and 2012 Political Economy & Public Law meetings. Special thanks to Alex Crabill, Melissa Niedrich, and Michelle Pearse for research support. This research was supported by the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. Replication files are available in the AJPS Data Archive on Dataverse (http://dvn.iq.harvard.edu/dvn/dv/ajps).
Identifying Judicial Empathy: Does Having Daughters Cause Judges to Rule for Women's Issues?
Article first published online: 9 MAY 2014
© 2014, Midwest Political Science Association
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 59, Issue 1, pages 37–54, January 2015
How to Cite
Glynn, A. N. and Sen, M. (2015), Identifying Judicial Empathy: Does Having Daughters Cause Judges to Rule for Women's Issues?. American Journal of Political Science, 59: 37–54. doi: 10.1111/ajps.12118
- Issue published online: 15 JAN 2015
- Article first published online: 9 MAY 2014
- Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University
In this article, we consider whether personal relationships can affect the way that judges decide cases. To do so, we leverage the natural experiment of a child's gender to identify the effect of having daughters on the votes of judges. Using new data on the family lives of U.S. Courts of Appeals judges, we find that, conditional on the number of children a judge has, judges with daughters consistently vote in a more feminist fashion on gender issues than judges who have only sons. This result survives a number of robustness tests and appears to be driven primarily by Republican judges. More broadly, this result demonstrates that personal experiences influence how judges make decisions, and this is the first article to show that empathy may indeed be a component in how judges decide cases.