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Stock Ownership of Federal Judges and its Impact on Corporations

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Abstract

This paper investigates whether and how litigant peer stock ownership by federal district judges affects characteristics of case outcomes for large corporate litigants. We find that industry-peer stock ownership by district judges is associated with the following outcomes for corporate litigants named in their assigned cases: 1) an increased likelihood of judgments for the corporate litigants, 2) a decrease in the amount received by the parties suing these corporate litigants, and 3) a decrease in the length of the litigation proceedings. The random assignment of district judges to cases provides exogenous variation in the judge stock ownership. We further identify the association outlined in our base results by examining appellate court reversals of district judgments, a triple difference analysis isolating large-stake investments, and outcomes in case types that should impact industries either cooperatively or competitively. Our results survive a falsification test as well as a battery of robustness tests. Our findings underscore the importance of mandates governing judge stock ownership, and more broadly, judge conflicts of interest.
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hal-03869827 , version 1 (24-11-2022)

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April M. Knill, Joseph Fred Kindelsperger, Alexei V. Ovtchinnikov. Stock Ownership of Federal Judges and its Impact on Corporations. 2021. ⟨hal-03869827⟩

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