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In-group bias in the Indian Judiciary: Evidence from 5 million cases

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We study judicial in-group bias in Indian criminal courts, collecting data on over 5 million criminal case records from 2010–2018. We exploit quasi-random assignment of cases to judges to examine whether defendant outcomes are affected by assignment to a judge with a similar identity. We estimate tight zero effects of in-group bias along gender and religious identity. We do find limited in-group bias in some (but not all) settings where identity is particularly salient, but even here our confidence intervals reject effect sizes smaller than those in much of the prior literature.

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