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Fri Feb 22, 2013, 08:26 PM

Researchers find appointed justices outperform elected counterparts

State supreme court justices who don't face voters are generally more effective than their elected counterparts, according to research led by Princeton University political scientists.

The research combines data about almost 6,000 state supreme court rulings nationwide between 1995 and 1998 with a new theoretical model to reach the conclusions that appointed justices generally bring a higher quality of information to the decision-making process, are more likely to change their preconceived opinions about a case, and are less likely to make errors than elected justices.

"Judges may be appointed to state supreme courts, elected in competitive elections or face retention elections. We wanted to see whether these selection methods can be associated with differences in the attributes of the judges themselves and with differences in the ways these judges interact with each other in the court," said Matias Iaryczower, an assistant professor of politics at Princeton, who conducted the research with Princeton graduate student Garrett Lewis and Matthew Shum, a professor of economics at the California Institute of Technology.


https://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S36/13/85O91/index.xml?section=topstories

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272712000941

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Reply Researchers find appointed justices outperform elected counterparts (Original post)
littlemissmartypants Feb 2013 OP
preventivePhD Feb 2013 #1
bemildred Feb 2013 #2

Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:34 AM

1. This article is really more a tribute to the problem Aaron Swartz was attempting to expose

The article is a pay article so we can't assess what assumptions the researchers were making without paying for it. For example, what was their operational definition of an accurate legal decision? Do other scientists believe their theoretical model has merit? What other assumptions does their theoretical model make? What aspects of the theory have been empirically tested? Do the individuals conducting the research have the appropriate academic credentials?

The only question that can be answered is the last one. The individuals doing criminology research are economists. In order to answer the other questions, we're required to pay $31.50.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 01:39 PM

2. Sounds like self-confirming babble to me.

It all depends on what "more effective" means. You define that the right way, you get the results you like. You define it some other way, you get the opposite result.

It also begs the question as to whether "more effective", whatever that proves to be, is what we really want to maximize.

Who decides what "higher-quality" information is, and how is that data collected? Surveys? Interviews? Opinions about opinions?

It seems like one of those cases where you find what you go looking for.

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