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Szmer, J., Christensen, R.K., & Grubbs, S.J. (2018) What influences the influence of U.S. Courts of Appeals decisions? European Journal of Law and Economics. 1-27

In this exploratory study, we develop models of factors that influence the citation or influence of judicial opinions written by U.S. Courts of Appeals judges. Prior studies of citation patterns in the U.S. Courts of Appeals largely focus on the judge’s career as the unit of analysis. Not surprisingly, this research suggests judge-level factors tend to influence the degree to which judges’ opinions are cited in subsequent decisions. Utilizing a dataset with a random sample of individual cases as the unit of analysis, we compare the effects of judge, panel, and case factors. Overall, while several case-level factors influence the number of citations a case receives, few judge- and panel-level variables affect citation rates. The findings suggest that opinion citation models based on judge- and/or panel-level attributes alone miss the influence of case attributes on citation rates.

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