Beim, Hirsch and Kastellec Awarded Best Conference Paper from APSA's Law and Courts Section
Deborah Beim, Alex Hirsch, and John Kastellec were awarded the Best Conference Paper Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association (for 2012), for their paper "Whistleblowing and Compliance in the Judicial Hierarchy." The paper can be found at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2141297
We evaluate the role of judicial whistleblowing on compliance in the judicial hierarchy. We present a formal model in which a lower court with divergent preferences from and more than information than a higher court decides whether to comply with the higher court’s preferred doctrine. A potential whistleblower can then, at some cost, choose to signal noncompliance. The higher court then decides to review the lower court’s decision, also at some cost. The model reveals that whistleblowing is most informative when it is rare. Beyond a certain point, dissenting more reduces compliance by the lower court. Thus, the threat of whistleblowing alone cannot induce perfect compliance, and when used too frequently, is actually counterproductive. We show an important connection between the frequency of whistleblowing and the effectiveness of whistleblowing as a threat to induce compliance. These results have important implications for understanding the transmission of information in a judicial hierarchy.