Gender Attitudes in the Judiciary: Evidence from U.S. Circuit Courts

Elliott Ash, Daniel L. Chen et Arianna Ornaghi


Do gender attitudes influence interactions with female judges in U.S. Circuit Courts? In this paper, we propose a judge-specific measure of gender attitudes based on use of gender-stereotyped language in the judge’s authored opinions. Exploiting quasi-random assignment of judges to cases and conditioning on judges’ characteristics, we validate the measure showing that higher-slant judges vote more conservatively in gender-related cases. Higher-slant judges interact differently with female colleagues: they are more likely to reverse lower-court decisions if the lower-court judge is a woman than a man, are less likely to assign opinions to female judges, and cite fewer female-authored opinions.


Gender attitudes; judiciary; stereotypes; NLP;

Codes JEL

  • J16: Economics of Gender • Non-labor Discrimination
  • D91: Intertemporal Household Choice • Life Cycle Models and Saving
  • K41: Litigation Process

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Publié dans

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, vol. 16, n° 1, janvier 2024, p. 314–350