[gov3009-l] Applied Statistics Workshop: Maya Sen on Wednesday, Sept. 21

Konstantin Kashin kkashin at fas.harvard.edu
Mon Sep 19 02:29:32 EDT 2011

Dear all,

Please join us for the Applied Statistics Workshop (Gov 3009) this
Wednesday, September 21 from 12.00 - 1.30 pm in CGIS Knafel Room 354. Maya
Sen, a Ph.D. candidate from the Department of Government at Harvard, will
give a practice job talk entitled "Natural Experiments, Judicial Quality,
and Racial Bias in Federal Appellate Review". As always, a light lunch will
be provided.

The abstract for the presentation is:

*In this paper, I find that cases decided by black federal lower-court
judges are consistently overturned more often than cases authored by similar
white judges. I estimate this effect by leveraging the fact that incoming
cases to the U.S. courts are randomly assigned to judges, which ensures that
black and white judges hear similar sorts of cases. The effect is robust and
persists after matching exactly on measures for judicial quality (including
quality ratings assigned by the American Bar Association (ABA)), previous
professional and judicial experience, and partisanship. Moreover, by looking
more closely at the ABA ratings scores awarded to judicial nominees, I
demonstrate that this effect is unlikely to be attributable exclusively to
differences between black and white judges in terms of quality. This study
is the first to explore how higher-court judges evaluate opinions written by
judges of color and it has clear normative implications: attempts to make
the judiciary more reflective of the general population may have actually
resulted in inequality in the aggregate, both for litigants and for judicial

An up-to-date schedule for the workshop is available at


Konstantin Kashin
Ph.D. Student in Government
Harvard University

Mobile: 978-844-0538
E-mail: kkashin at fas.harvard.edu
Site: http://people.fas.harvard.edu/~kkashin/
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