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Publish or Paris? Evidence of How Judges Allocate Their Time

Listed author(s):
  • Ahmed E. Taha
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    A utility-maximizing model of judicial behavior predicts that, all else equal, judges who have stronger preferences for publishing opinions, who have lighter workloads, or who are able to write publishable decisions more efficiently are more likely to publish their decisions. Using federal district court judges' decisions regarding the constitutionality of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, this article presents empirical support for these predictions. Many judicial, institutional, and other characteristics are examined that should be correlated with a judge's workload or with a judge's taste for, or efficiency in, publishing opinions. These analyses find that, all else equal, judges who held prior political positions, who received higher American Bar Association (ABA) ratings, who had lighter caseloads, who had longer tenures, who struck down the guidelines, or who had a greater chance of promotion to a U.S. court of appeals were more likely to publish their decisions. In addition, judges' publication decisions were significantly affected by the prior decisions of judges in the same district, but little affected by those of judges in other districts. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal American Law and Economics Review.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 1-27

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:6:y:2004:i:1:p:1-27
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