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Does Gender Matter in the Civil Law Judiciary? Evidence from French Child Support Court Decisions

Author

Listed:
  • Bruno Jeandidier
  • Cécile Bourreau-Dubois
  • Jean-Claude Ray
  • Myriam Doriat-Duban

Abstract

This article assesses whether and to what extent gender matters in one particular area of the civil law system, family law. Using a dataset of 2,000 child support decisions from French courts of appeal, we show that in a civil law system like that in France, the gender of the judge does seem to matter. We find that this influence is likely to manifest itself in two ways. First, our results show that female and male judges do not make the same decisions: comparatively to the latter, the former (i) are more generous, fixing higher amounts of child support (the difference represents between 8% and 17% of the average amount of child support), and (ii) make more pro-mother decisions, regardless of whether the mothers are debtors or creditors. The magnitude of these differences is greater when the panel is composed of three female judges, comparatively to mixed or all-male panels.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno Jeandidier & Cécile Bourreau-Dubois & Jean-Claude Ray & Myriam Doriat-Duban, 2016. "Does Gender Matter in the Civil Law Judiciary? Evidence from French Child Support Court Decisions," Working Papers of BETA 2016-55, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2016-55
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ioana Marinescu, 2011. "Are Judges Sensitive to Economic Conditions? Evidence from Uk Employment Tribunals," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(4), pages 673-698, July.
    2. Gonzalo Ruiz, 2014. "Understanding the Pro-plaintiff Bias in Consumer Protection Legal Processes," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 113-141, March.
    3. Cécile Bourreau-Dubois & Myriam Doriat-Duban & Jean-Claude Ray, 2014. "Child support order: how do judges decide without guidelines? Evidence from France," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 431-452, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    judicial decision-making; gender; family law.;

    JEL classification:

    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law

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