Do Judges with Daughters Rule Differently on "Women's Issues" Than Those Who Don't Have Daughters

The Harvard Social Statistics Blog has an abstract of an article that sounds interesting.  The title of article is “Female Socialization: How Having Daughters Affect Judges’ Voting on Women’s Issues”

  Here is the abstract:

Social scientists have long maintained that women judges might behave different than their male colleagues (e.g., Boyd et al. (2010)). This is particularly true when it comes to highly charged social issues such as gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and the status of gender as a suspect classification under federal law. Less studied has been the role that a judge’s family might have on judicial decision making. For example, we may think that a male judge with daughters might have different views of gender discrimination and sexual harassment than a male judge without any daughters. This paper takes a look at the question causally by leveraging the hypothesis that, conditional on the number of total number of children, the probability of a judge having a boy or a girl is independent of any covariates (Washington 2008). Looking at data from the U.S. Courts of Appeals, we find that conditional on the number of children, judges with daughters consistently vote in a more liberal fashion on gender issues than judges without daughters. This effect is particularly strong among Republican appointed judges and is robust and persists even once we control for a wide variety of factors. Our results more broadly suggest that personal experiences — as distinct from partisanship — may influence how elite actors make decisions, but only in the context of substantively salient issues.


The abstract appears to indicate that the effect of having daughters appears to be one of liberalizing one's opinions on such issues if they were formally conservative.  I would be interested to see if this or any other study indicates that broadening one's horizons or personally witnessing the experiences that other groups in our society must face ever has the effect of making one's opinions more conservative.  In any event, it sounds like an interesting study.  


 Hat tip: Jottings of an Employer's Lawyer