School Seminar | Does the Share of Female Judges Assigned to Supreme Court Cases Affect Trial Outcomes? by Rigissa Megalokonomou
School of Economics
Invites you to a
School seminar presented by
Does the Share of Female Judges Assigned to Supreme Court Cases Affect Trial Outcomes?
Thursday 2 November 2023
11.00pm – 12.30pm
Seminar Room 650
A02 Social Sciences Building
The University of Sydney NSW 2006
Recent research has focused on the consequences of females’ underrepresentation in prestigious occupations. In this paper, I examine whether the presence of more female judges in judicial committees influences trial outcomes. The identification strategy relies on the fact that the gender composition of judicial committees is orthogonal to the characteristics of the case. To study this question, I use novel–digitized for the first time–data on more than 3,500 appeal cases that have been decided by first-level courts and are subject to re-evaluation by the Supreme Court in Greece. An odd number of judges is randomly assigned to each case, and trial outcomes are the product of a voting process among the assigned judges. My results suggest that an increase in the proportion of female judges in the committee increases the likelihood that the appeal will be rejected. This suggests that female judges may be tougher towards the defendant and that they may identify with the victim. I also find that when more female judges are assigned to a case it takes significantly longer for a final decision to be made. This pattern is driven by committees in which the head judge is female. The estimated effects vanish when the plaintiff is not an individual, but it is a bank or the government instead. I will also discuss an early-stage online survey in which I will examine whether female and male judges consider toughness differently, have different risk aversion, and have different criteria in sentencing.