Emotional Judges and Unlucky Juveniles [study]

It has been said that (in some cases) court judges are more lenient on those accused of crimes if the date of the court hearing falls on the defendant’s birthday.

But can things also work in the reverse direction? What if, for example, the judge’s favorite football team have just lost a match? Would they dish out harser sentences?

In 2016, a research team from Louisiana State University investigated :

We calculate that each upset loss of the LSU football team generates excess punishments of juvenile defenders in Louisiana by a total of more than 1,332 days, including time in custody and probation. Importantly, 159 extra days of jail time has been assigned to juveniles convicted of a felony due to an upset loss in a football game

Our results indicate that emotional stress is responsible for this reaction of judges because we find that the entire set of results are driven by judges who have received their bachelor’s degrees from LSU.

See : Emotional Judges and unlucky Juveniles National Bureau of Economic Research, working paper.

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