Publication: Do Judges Favor Their Own Ethnicity and Gender?: Evidence from Kenya
Chen, Daniel Li
Ramos Maqueda, Manuel
Evidence from high-income countries suggests that judges often exhibit in-group bias, favoring litigants that share an identity with the judge. However, there is little evidence on this phenomenon from the Global South. Collecting the available universe of High Court decisions in Kenya, this paper leverages the random assignment of cases to judges to evaluate the existence of in-group bias along gender and ethnic lines. It finds that, relative to a baseline win rate of 43 percent, defendants are 4 percentage points more likely to win if they share the judge's gender and 5 percentage points more likely to win if they share the judge~^!!^s ethnicity. The paper finds that the written judgements are on average shorter and less likely to be cited when defendants who are of the same gender or ethnicity as the judge win their case. This is consistent with in-group biased decisions being of lower quality. In addition, the findings show that female defendants are less likely to win the case if the judge exhibits stereotypical or negative attitudes towards women in their writings.
“Chen, Daniel Li; Graham, Jimmy; Ramos Maqueda, Manuel; Singh, Shashank. 2022. Do Judges Favor Their Own Ethnicity and Gender? : Evidence from Kenya. © Washington, DC: World Bank. http://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/37108 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”
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