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The Value of Information in the Court: Get It Right, Keep It Tight

Author

Listed:
  • Matias Iaryczower
  • Matthew Shum

Abstract

We estimate an equilibrium model of decision making in the US Supreme Court that takes into account both private information and ideological differences between justices. We measure the value of information in the court by the probability that a justice votes differently from how she would have voted without case-specific information. Our results suggest a sizable value of information: in 44 percent of cases, justices' initial leanings are changed by their personal assessments of the case. Our results also confirm the increased politicization of the Supreme Court in the last quarter century. Counterfactual simulations provide implications for institutional design. (JEL D72, D82, D83, K10)

Suggested Citation

  • Matias Iaryczower & Matthew Shum, 2012. "The Value of Information in the Court: Get It Right, Keep It Tight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 202-237, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:1:p:202-37
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Simon Quinn & Tom Gole, 2014. "Committees and Status Quo Bias: Structural Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," Economics Series Working Papers 733, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Stephen E. Hansen & Michael McMahon, 2011. "First Impressions Matter: Signalling as a Source of Policy Dynamics," Working Papers 572, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    3. Eijffinger, Sylvester C W & Mahieu, Ronald J & Raes, Louis, 2013. "Inferring hawks and doves from voting records," CEPR Discussion Papers 9418, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Sheldon, Ian & Roe, Brian & Olimov, Jafar, 2015. "“Regulation of Food Quality: Deep Capture and Economies of Scope between Innovation and Influence”," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212255, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. Stephen Hansen & Michael McMahon, 2013. "Estimating Bayesian Decision Problems with Heterogeneous Priors," CAMA Working Papers 2013-18, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    6. Stephen Hansen & Michael McMahon & Carlos Velasco Rivera, 2013. "How Expoerts Decide: Preferences or Private Assessments on a Monetary Policy Committee?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4201, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Raphael Godefroy & Eduardo Perez‐Richet, 2013. "Choosing Choices: Agenda Selection With Uncertain Issues," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(1), pages 221-253, January.
    8. Shamena Anwar & Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson, 2015. "Politics in the Courtroom: Political Ideology and Jury Decision Making," NBER Working Papers 21145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Shuo Liu, 2015. "Voting with public information," ECON - Working Papers 191, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Jun 2017.
    10. Serguei Kaniovski & David Stadelmann, 2015. "The Probability of Legislative Shirking: Estimation and Validation," CREMA Working Paper Series 2015-17, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    11. Stephen Hansen & Michael McMahon, 2016. "First Impressions Matter: Signalling as a Source of Policy Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(4), pages 1645-1672.
    12. Hansen, Stephen & McMahon, Michael & Velasco Rivera, Carlos, 2014. "Preferences or private assessments on a monetary policy committee?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 16-32.
    13. Iaryczower, Matias & Lewis, Garrett & Shum, Matthew, 2013. "To elect or to appoint? Bias, information, and responsiveness of bureaucrats and politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 230-244.
    14. Camara, Fanny & Dupuis, Nicolas, 2014. "Structural Estimation of Expert Strategic Bias: The Case of Movie Reviewers," TSE Working Papers 14-534, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    15. Matias Iaryczower & Gabriel Katz, 2016. "What does IT Take for Congress to Enact Good Policies? an Analysis of Roll Call Voting in the US Congress," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 79-104, March.
    16. Raphaël Godefroy & Eduardo Perez-Richet, 2010. "Choosing choices: Agenda selection with uncertain issues," Working Papers halshs-00564976, HAL.
    17. repec:kap:ejlwec:v:43:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10657-015-9512-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. repec:eee:poleco:v:51:y:2018:i:c:p:107-120 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)

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