Left, right, and center: Strategic information acquisition and diversity in judicial panels

Matthew Spitzer*, Eric Talley

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Scopus citations


    This article develops and analyzes a hierarchical model of judicial review in multimember appellate courts. In our model, judicial panels acquire information endogenously, through the efforts of individual panelists, acting strategically. The resulting equilibria strongly resemble the empirical phenomena collectively known as "panel effects"-and in particular the observed regularity with which ideological diversity on a panel predicts greater moderation in voting behavior (even after controlling for the median voter's preferences). In our model, nonpivotal panel members with ideologies far from the median have the greatest incentive to acquire additional policy-relevant information where no one on a homogeneous panel would be willing to do so. The resulting information structure pushes deliberation and observed voting patterns toward apparent moderation. We illustrate the plausibility of our model by calibrating it to empirical data and explore various normative implications of our theory.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)638-680
    Number of pages43
    JournalJournal of Law, Economics, and Organization
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jun 2013

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
    • Law


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