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Social interactions and the content of legal opinions

By Jordi Blanes i Vidal and Clare Leaver


We explore whether interactions between judges affect the citation content of legal opinions. Motivated by the economic and sociological literature on networks, we consider two possible mechanisms: knowledge diffusion - a judge is more likely to be aware of, and hence cite, a prior opinion if he has interacted with its author, and socialization - a judge is more likely to cite a prior opinion positively if he has interacted with its author. We find that English appellate judges randomly assigned to work with the author of a given opinion are more (less) likely to make a discretionary citation of that opinion that is positive (neutral) than judges without an interaction, providing support for the socialization mechanism

Topics: K Law (General)
Publisher: London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Management
Year: 2010
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Provided by: LSE Research Online
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