Although there exists a large literature analyzing whether an individualís peers have an impact on that individualís own behavior and subsequent outcomes, there is paucity of research on whether peers ináuence a personís decisions and judgments regarding a third party. We investigate whether consequential decisions made by judges are impacted by the gender composition of these judgesípeer group. We utilize the universe of decisions on juvenile defendants in each courthouse in Louisiana between 1998 and 2012. Leveraging random assignment of cases to judges, and variations in judge peer composition generated by elections, retirements, deaths and resignations, we show that an increase in the proportion of female peers in the courthouse causes a rise in individual judgesípropensity to incarcerate, and an increase in the assigned sentence length. This e§ect is driven by female judges. We also demonstrate that the impact of proportion of female peers is not a proxy for other peer characteristics such as race and age. Further analysis suggests that this behavior of female judges is unlikely to be a reáection of an e§ort to conform to evolving norms of judicial stringency, measured by peersíharshness in sentencing, but that it is due to the sheer exposure to female colleagues.
In most countries, Parliamentary immunity protects lawmakers from civil or criminal charges while in office, and it shields them from prosecution for their political speech or political actions. This paper presents the first empirical analysis in the literature of the impact of Parliamentary immunity on the behavior and performance of politicians. Leveraging a Constitutional Amendment, the adoption of which lifted the immunity of 24 percent of the Members of the Turkish Parliament (MPs), we find that immunity from prosecution impacts how the MPs act and perform their duties in the Parliament. Losing immunity pacifies the MPs of the opposition parties, who become less diligent in the Parliament(drafting fewer pieces of legislation, initiating fewer investigation inquiries, delivering fewer and shorter speeches) and become less aggressive (interrupting other MPs less frequently). They also reduce their tendency to cast dissenting votes against the government. These MPs are less likely to get re-nominated by their parties in the next election, and they are less likely to get re-elected. We find no evidence that more outspoken and active opposition MPs or those who are more valuable for their parties have been targeted for immunity revocation. The results are robust to limiting the analysis to the sample of opposition MPs who had the same intensity of pre-treatment Parliamentary activity. There is no evidence that the MPs, who retained immunity, have increased their Parliamentary efforts in reaction to their same-party colleagues losing immunity. We find that laws are passed faster after the Constitutional Amendment was adopted, possibly as a consequence of reduced opposition and deliberation. Using Euro barometer surveys, we find that citizens’ reactions to the revocation of MP immunity are polarized. An individual’s trust in the Parliament is lower or higher based on whether an MP from the individual’s province lost immunity and if that MP subscribes to the same or opposing ideology as the individual.
At least one of every five marriages is consanguineous (between couples who are second cousins or closer) in the Middle East and North Africa, and the rate is higher than 50 percent in some parts of the world. Consanguineous marriage generates serious health problems for the offspring and constitutes an economic problem with its associated medical costs and the impact on human capital. The prevalence of consanguineous marriage and the resultant kinship networks can shape various dimensions of the society ranging from institutional structure to attitudes such as trust, individualism, and nepotism. Using data from Turkey and leveraging an education reform which increased mandatory schooling by three years, we find that the reform made women less likely to find consanguineous marriage as an acceptable practice, and that the reform reduced women’s propensity to marry a first cousin or a blood relative. Exposure to the reform altered women’s preferences in favor of personal autonomy. Women who are exposed to the reform are more likely to have met their husbands outside of family networks, they are less likely to get forced into marriage against their consent, and they are less likely to agree that only a son can ensure the continuation of the family blood line. These results indicate that educational attainment can alter behaviors and attitudes which may be rooted in culture.
At least one of every five marriages is consanguineous (between couples who are second cousins or closer) in the Middle East and North Africa, and the rate is higher than 50 percent in some parts of the world. Consanguineous marriage generates serious health problems for the offspring, most of which cannot be offset by interventions and investments after birth. High prevalence of consanguinity, coupled with high fertility rate in developing countries constitutes an economic problem with its associated medical costs and its impact on human capital. Using data from Turkey and leveraging an education reform which increased mandatory schooling by three years, we find that the reform made women less likely to find consanguineous marriage an acceptable practice, and that the reform reduced women’s propensity to marry a first cousin or a blood relative. Women who are exposed to the reform marry older, are closer in age to their husbands, are less likely to be in an arranged marriage, and are less likely to have met their husbands through their family, relatives or neighbors. The reform changed women’s preferences in favor of an educated husband, it reduced women’s probability of having being forced into marrying someone they did not want to marry, and made women less likely to agree that only a son can ensure the continuation of the family blood line. These results indicate that educational attainment can alter behaviors and attitudes which may be rooted in culture. Policies which increase female education can be a vehicle through which the prevalence of consanguineous unions and the related health risks can be diminished. For example, in Turkey, there would have been 56,000 additional children born to consanguineous marriages each year in the absence of the education reform.
Using information on more than 1,500 elected Members of the Parliament (MPs) and the votes received by political parties in five consecutive elections in Turkey (1991-2011), and exploiting the randomness generated by the seat allocation mechanism, we show that elected MPs are more likely to switch parties after an election if they faced electoral uncertainty and experienced a narrowly-won victory. A number of MP and party characteristics influence the decision to switch. Politicians switch parties after an election to improve their ex-ante re-election probability in the following election, and party-switching MPs are more likely to get elected in the next election. MPs switch parties to move towards the median voter. These results point to forward looking opportunistic behavior of politicians regarding their strategy to win future elections to have a longer tenure in the Parliament.