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The Duration of Judicial Deliberation: Evidence from Belgium

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We utilize case-level data from a large Belgian court to study a policy-relevant but thus far empirically unexplored aspect of judicial behavior: the time that a judge takes to deliberate on a case before rendering a verdict. Exploiting the de facto random administrative assignment of filed cases among the serving judges and using survival-analysis methods, we find that the duration of judicial deliberation varies not only with measures of case complexity, but also with judge and disputing-party characteristics. We further find evidence consistent with the hypothesis that longer judicial deliberation improves the quality of judicial decisions.
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Keywords: BELGIUM; CASE-LEVEL DATA; JUDICIAL DELIBERATION; SPEED-QUALITY TRADEOFF; SURVIVAL ANALYSIS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2018

This article was made available online on 12 May 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "The Duration of Judicial Deliberation: Evidence from Belgium".

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  • Founded as Zeitschrift für die gesamte Staatswissenschaft in 1844.

    As one of the oldest journals in the field of political economy, the Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE) deals traditionally with the problems of economics, social policy, and their legal framework. JITE is listed in the Journal of Economic Literature, the Social Science Citation Index, the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, and COREJ.

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    From 2013 on all accepted articles are published in an Online First version (in their final layout) to make them searchable and citable by their DOI immediately after peer review and acceptance. Once the article is published in an issue of the journal, the Online First version will be removed.

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