In this paper, we ask whether personal relationships can affect the way that judges decide cases. To do so, we leverage the natural experiment of a child's gender to identify the effect of having daughters on the votes of judges. Using new data on the family lives of U.S. Courts of Appeals judges, we find that, conditional on the number of children a judge has, judges with daughters consistently vote in a more feminist fashion on gender issues than judges who have only sons. This result survives a number of robustness tests and appears to be driven primarily by Republican judges. More broadly, this result demonstrates that personal experiences influence how judges make decisions, and it is the first paper to show that empathy may indeed be a component in how judges decide cases.
This follows a 2008 study, Daughters and Left-Wing Voting by Andrew J. Oswald
and Nattavudh Powdthavee
Oswald and Powdthavee reference two earlier studies.What determines human beings’ political preferences? Using nationally representative longitudinal data, we show that having daughters makes people more likely to vote for left-wing political parties. Having sons leads people to favor right-wing parties. The paper checks that our result is not an artifact of family stopping-rules, discusses the predictions from a simple economic model, and tests for possible reverse causality.
Warner (1991) and Warner and Steel(1999) study American and Canadian mothers and fathers. The authors’ key finding is that support for policies designed to address gender equity is greater among parents with daughters. This result emerges particularly strongly for fathers. Because parents invest a significant amount of themselves in their children, the authors argue, the anticipated and actual struggles that offspring face, and the public policies that tackle those, matter to those parents.In the words of Warner and Steel (1999), “child rearing might provide a mechanism for social change whereby fathers' connection with their daughters undermines ...patriarchy”.
All this comes originally from a link to MetaFilter sent by a close relative. The comments at MetaFilter offer lots of interesting follow up thoughts, particularly warnings that these are statistical predictions, and, of course, you will be able to find individual cases that don't seem to bear this out. Someone pointed to Antonin Scalia who has four daughters. But another pointed out that the study says the prediction doesn't work when there are more than five children. (Wikipedia says Scalia also has five sons.)
This makes sense in that when people know people in other conditions well, they are more likely to sympathize with their situation. From a Harvard Magazine artilce on How Same-Sex Marriage Came to Be:
"Perhaps the most important was that the proportion of Americans who reported knowing someone gay increased from 25 percent in 1985 to 74 percent in 2000. Knowing gay people strongly predicts support for gay rights; a 2004 study found that 65 percent of those who reported knowing someone gay favored gay marriage or civil unions, versus just 35 percent of those who reported not knowing any gays."I couldn't find a citation in the article for the 2000 study, but here are some longitudinal data on the these questions from Gallup.
Food for thought. Thanks to S