“Race, Fairness, and Co-Determination in Criminal Sentencing: Evidence From Sentencing Cohorts in Pennsylvania” [pdf]
Judges often sentence multiple defendants on the same day. While it is commonly believed that judges should determine a defendants’ sentence based solely upon information relevant to such defendant’s case, other defendants’ attributes may influence a judge’s decision-making process. In this paper, I explore this possibility and estimate co-dependencies between the sentences of different defendants who are sentenced by the same judge on the same day. I find that judges do not award sentences independently across defendants and specifically that a defendant receiving a sentence alongside other defendants with one-year longer average sentences leads to four-day increase in the defendant’s sentence, on average. Racial-heterogeneity analysis reveals patterns consistent with judges treating racially-defined groups of defendants in similar ways; longer average sentences of other same-race defendants leads to an increase in a defendant's sentence, while longer average sentences of other different-race defendants are not associated with changes in a defendant's sentence.
We consider the voting behavior of Supreme Court Justices, finding evidence of co-dependencies in their votes. Coincident with changes in the party imbalance of the Court over time, sharp discontinuities in these dependencies are evident. Overall, the patterns suggest a trade off between co-dependencies around political affiliations and individual ideologies, with more-equal party representation on the Court encouraging greater party-awareness in Justice Voting, and less-equal party representation allowing Justices across party lines but with similar ideologies to inform each other’s votes.
“Trading Politics: Repercussions of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014” [pdf]
This paper examines the relationship between domestic policies and international trade using evidence from the international reception of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014. The Act drew harsh international criticism, which resulted in a grassroots consumer boycott of Ugandan goods. Using Google Trend data to measure international awareness of the Act, I find the average import share for Ugandan coffee declined by 5% in months with moderate increases in awareness, with an additional, similar sized effect in the following month. Preference heterogeneity analysis finds importing countries which are more dissimilar to Uganda along a variety of metrics responded with larger declines in average coffee import shares.
Works in Progress:
“Who Said That? Perception of Truth Across Crime and Gender”