Christina L. Boyd is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, University at Buffalo, SUNY, 520 Park Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260 (cLboyd@buffalo.edu). Lee Epstein is Henry Wade Rogers Professor, Northwestern University School of Law, 357 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Andrew D. Martin is Professor in the Department of Political Science and School of Law, Washington University in St. Louis, Campus Box 1063, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130 (email@example.com).
Untangling the Causal Effects of Sex on Judging
Article first published online: 9 APR 2010
©2010, Midwest Political Science Association
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 54, Issue 2, pages 389–411, April 2010
How to Cite
Boyd, C. L., Epstein, L. and Martin, A. D. (2010), Untangling the Causal Effects of Sex on Judging. American Journal of Political Science, 54: 389–411. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2010.00437.x
- Issue published online: 9 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 9 APR 2010
We explore the role of sex in judging by addressing two questions of long-standing interest to political scientists: whether and in what ways male and female judges decide cases distinctly—“individual effects”—and whether and in what ways serving with a female judge causes males to behave differently—“panel effects.” While we attend to the dominant theoretical accounts of why we might expect to observe either or both effects, we do not use the predominant statistical tools to assess them. Instead, we deploy a more appropriate methodology: semiparametric matching, which follows from a formal framework for causal inference. Applying matching methods to 13 areas of law, we observe consistent gender effects in only one—sex discrimination. For these disputes, the probability of a judge deciding in favor of the party alleging discrimination decreases by about 10 percentage points when the judge is a male. Likewise, when a woman serves on a panel with men, the men are significantly more likely to rule in favor of the rights litigant. These results are consistent with an informational account of gendered judging and are inconsistent with several others.