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Clash of norms: Judicial leniency on defendant birthdays

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  • Chen, Daniel L.
  • Philippe, Arnaud

Abstract

We document judicial leniency on defendant birthdays across 5 million decisions. French sentences are 1% fewer and 3% shorter. U.S. federal sentences are 33% shorter in the day component of sentences (the month component remains unaffected). New Orleans sentences are 15% shorter overall. No leniency appears on the days before or after a defendant’s birthday. Federal judges using deterrence language in opinions, are unaffected, isolating the judicial as opposed to defendant channel. The effect is doubled when judge and defendant share the same race. Our courtroom setting rules out many models of social preferences with reciprocity motives.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Daniel L. & Philippe, Arnaud, 2018. "Clash of norms: Judicial leniency on defendant birthdays," IAST Working Papers 18-76, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:iastwp:32765
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    4. Ozkan Eren & Naci Mocan, 2016. "Emotional Judges and Unlucky Juveniles," NBER Working Papers 22611, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Shamena Anwar & Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson, 2012. "The Impact of Jury Race in Criminal Trials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 1017-1055.
    6. Ozkan Eren & Naci Mocan, 2016. "Emotional Judges and Unlucky Juveniles," Working Papers id:11299, eSocialSciences.
    7. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-787, December.
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