Ideological influences on governance and regulation: The comparative case of supreme courts

Keren Weinshall, Udi Sommer, Ya'acov Ritov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A key influence on governance and regulation is the ideology of individual decisionmakers. However, certain branches of government – such as courts – while wielding wide ranging regulatory powers, are expected to do so with no attitudinal influence. We posit a dynamic response model to investigate attitudinal behavior in different national courts. Our ideological scores are estimated based on probability models that formalize the assumption that judicial decisions consist of ideological, strategic, and jurisprudential components. The Dynamic Comparative Attitudinal Measure estimates the attitudinal decisionmaking on the institution as a whole. Additionally, we estimate Ideological Ideal Point Preference for individual justices. Empirical results with original data for political and religious rights rulings in the Supreme Courts of the United States, Canada, India, the Philippines, and Israel corroborate the measures' validity. Future studies can utilize Ideological Ideal Point Preference and the Dynamic Comparative Attitudinal Measure to cover additional courts, legal spheres, and time frames, and to estimate government deference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-352
Number of pages19
JournalRegulation and Governance
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • attitudinal decisionmaking
  • comparative law
  • judicial ideology
  • judicial politics
  • supreme court

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Law


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