Roberto Galbiati (Science Po)
March 1 @ 12:00 - 13:30
“When in Rome… On Local Norms and Sentencing Decisions”
In this paper we show the existence of sentencing norms that vary widely even across close geographical units. Using a special institutional feature in North Carolina, that forces judges to regularly rotate across the State, we show that when judges arrive in a new court, they gradually converge to the local sentencing norm. We document factors that facilitate this convergence and show that sentencing norms are predicted by preferences of the local constituents. We build on these empirical results to analyze theoretically the delegation tradeo faced by a social planner: the judge can learn the local norm but at the cost of potential capture.