Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pedigree Variables Do Not Predict Judge or Professor Performance

In our Monyeball article (What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, 82 Tex. L. Rev. 1483, 1539-44 (2004)), Rafael Gely and I demonstrate that “pedigree" variables (academic rank of law school attended, law review membership, judicial clerkship, advanced law degree) did not predict future scholarly performance of law faculty in our data set.  In contrast, “performance” variables (pre-hiring publications) did predict future scholarly performance.

In a new paper, Judging Women, Stephen J. Choi (NYU), G. Mitu Gulati (Duke), Mirya R. Holman (Duke & North Carolina) & Eric A. Posner (Chicago) note:

On average, female judges are less qualified, based on traditional metrics, than male judges. They have attended lower-ranked colleges and lower-ranked law schools, they are less likely to have had judicial clerkships (a prestigious job often taken by top law school graduates), and they have less experience in private practice before becoming judges. ...  Yet when it comes to performance rather than qualifications, we find no statistically significant differences between the decision-making ability of male and female judges in any of our data sets. Female judges are cited just as often as male judges; they write as many opinions; and they are just as likely to dissent, and to dissent from opinions written by judges who belong to their party.

For discussion of Judging Women, see:

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