October 29, 2008
How Should We Measure Judicial Ideology?
In What is Judicial Ideology, and How Should We Measure It? [SSRN] Joshua B. Fischman (Virginia) and David S. Law (St. Louis) assess the possible influences of judicial ideology on decisions. From the abstract:
"Scholars have for decades sought to measure judicial ideology and its impact on judicial behavior. However, they have not always taken care to identify the phenomenon that they are measuring in clear and convincing terms. Nor have they made a habit of evaluating different measurement approaches for their suitability to the task at hand. In this Article, we attempt to remedy the recurring weaknesses of the existing empirical literature in three ways. First, we identify the major conceptual and methodological obstacles to the empirical measurement of judicial ideology. Second, we compare the performance of several popular approaches to the measurement of judicial ideology. Third, we propose measurement approaches of our own that, for certain applications, offer significant improvements over some of the most popular alternatives."
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