Collaborative Research: Testing Models of Representation and Institutional Design in the State Courts' Consideration of Inequality

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project aims to create a new database of judicial decisions, to measure all policies relevant to inequality in a dozen or so policy domains, in all 50 states since 1971, and to test a series of conjectures about the conditions under which the state supreme courts act to mitigate or aggravate inequality. In particular, the project will use statistical analyses to test the hypothesis that the preferences of a state?s citizenry on matters of inequality affect supreme court decisions. We further expect that this relationship depends on the methods used to select and retain judges in the state. Because the project?s timeframe encompasses the rise of interest group involvement and television advertising in judicial election, the project will also investigate how the increasing politicization of judicial elections has affected judicial responsiveness to public opinion. Overall, the analysis will be able to determine whether greater judicial accountability results in greater responsiveness to the mass public and/or to organized interests. Thus, this study will shed important new light on the causes of social, political, legal, and economic inequality in the states of the United States.

Effective start/end date3/1/152/28/19


  • National Science Foundation: $49,716.00


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