Journal Article

Are Judges Overpaid?: A Skeptical Response to the Judicial Salary Debate

Stephen J. Choi, G. Mitu Gulati and Eric A. Posner

in Journal of Legal Analysis

Published on behalf of The John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics and Business at Harvard Law School with the support of the Considine Family Foundation

Volume 1, issue 1, pages 47-117
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 2161-7201
Published online January 2009 | e-ISSN: 1946-5319 | DOI:
Are Judges Overpaid?: A Skeptical Response to the Judicial Salary Debate

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The public debate over the need to raise judicial salaries has been one-sided. Sentiment appears to be that judges are underpaid. But neither theory nor evidence provides much support for this view. The primary argument being made in favor of a pay increase is that it will raise the quality of judging. Theory suggests that increasing judicial salaries will improve judicial performance only if judges can be sanctioned for performing inadequately or if the appointments process reliably screens out low-ability candidates. However, federal judges and many state judges cannot be sanctioned, and the reliability of screening processes is open to question. An empirical study of the high court judges of the fifty states provides little evidence that raising salaries would improve judicial performance.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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