Study Finds Judges Who Serve With Women Are More Likely to Hire Women as Clerks

A new National Bureau of Economics research study by researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and Occidental College in Los Angeles, finds that federal appellate judges are more likely to hire women to prestigious court clerkships after serving on panels with female colleagues.

The researchers examined published court opinions from 2007 to 2017 for the composition of appellate panels by gender and combined that with data about more than 200 judges and their clerks from the Judicial Yellow Book directory.

The analysis found that, on average, judges who heard more cases with female colleagues were 4 percentage points more likely to hire at least one female court clerk in the next year.

The results show that exposure to an underrepresented group influenced individual hiring decisions, the authors said. The randomness of judges’ exposure made other explanations unlikely, they added.

Eleonora Patacchini, a professor in the department of economics at Cornell University and a co-author of the paper, said that “we find a strong impact of exposure to female judicial colleagues on future hires. It creates opportunities if judges, or company managers, may change their beliefs and then change their hiring behavior.”

Professor Paracchini joined the faculty at Cornell University in 2014. She is a graduate of Sapienza University of Rome. Dr. Paracchini earned a master’s degree in economics from University Pompeu Fabra in Spain. She holds a Ph.D. in statistics from Sapienza University of Rome and a Ph.D. in economics from Southampton University in England.

The full study, “Professional Interactions and Hiring Decisions: Evidence from the Federal Judiciary,” may be accessed here.

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