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Bias in open peer-review: evidence from the English superior courts

Blanes i Vidal, Jordi and Leaver, Clare (2015) Bias in open peer-review: evidence from the English superior courts. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 31 (3). pp. 431-471. ISSN 8756-6222

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Identification Number: 10.1093/jleo/ewv004


This paper explores possible biases in open peer-review using data from the English superior courts. Exploiting the random timing of on-the-job interaction between reviewers and reviewees, we find evidence that reviewers are reluctant to reverse the judgments of reviewees with whom they are about to interact, and that this effect is stronger when reviewer and reviewee share the same rank. The average bias is substantial: the proportion of reviewer affirmances is 30% points higher in the group where reviewers know they will soon work with their reviewee, relative to groups where such interaction is absent. Our results suggest reforms for the judicial listing process, and caution against recent trends in performance appraisal techniques and scientific publishing

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
JEL classification: A - General Economics and Teaching > A1 - General Economics > A12 - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
C - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods > C2 - Econometric Methods: Single Equation Models; Single Variables > C21 - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
K - Law and Economics > K4 - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior > K40 - General
Z - Other Special Topics > Z1 - Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology > Z13 - Social Norms and Social Capital; Social Networks
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2016 14:50
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:19

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