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Abstract:

Theoretical Economics Paper
Careerist Judges
Gilat Levy
May 2003
Paper No' TE/2003/457:
Full Paper (pdf)

Tags: career concerns; judicial decision-making.

In this paper I analyse how careerist judges formulate their decisions using information they uncover during deliberations as well as relevant information from previous decisions. I assume that judges have reputation concerns and try to signal to an evaluator that they can interpret the law correctly. If an appeal is brought, the appellate court's decision reveals whether the judge interpreted the law properly and allows the evaluator to assess the judge's ability. The monitoring possibilities for the evaluator are therefore endogenous, because the probability of an appeal depends on the judge's decision. I find that judges with career concerns tend to contradict previous decisions inefficiently. I also show that judges behave more efficiently when elected by the public than when appointed by fellow superior judges.