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Judges, Juveniles and In-group Bias

Listed author(s):
  • Briggs Depew
  • Ozkan Eren
  • Naci Mocan

We investigate the existence of in-group bias (preferential treatment of one’s own group) in court decisions. Using the universe of juvenile court cases in a U.S. state between 1996 and 2012 and exploiting random assignment of juvenile defendants to judges, we find evidence for negative racial in-group bias in judicial decisions. All else the same, black (white) juveniles who are randomly assigned to black (white) judges are more likely to get incarcerated (as opposed to being placed on probation), and they receive longer sentences. Although observed in experimental settings, this is the first empirical evidence of negative in-group bias, based on a randomization design outside of the lab. Explanations for this finding are provided.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w22003.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 22003.

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Length:
Date of creation: Feb 2016
Publication status: published as Briggs Depew & Ozkan Eren & Naci Mocan, 2017. "Judges, Juveniles, and In-Group Bias," The Journal of Law and Economics, vol 60(2), pages 209-239.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22003
Note: CH LE LS PE
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