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The Law and Positive Political Theory of Panel Effects

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This article presents a robust theory of panel effects by integrating the key “law” components of judicial decision making—doctrines and decision instruments—with the judicial hierarchy (principal-agent) components that dominate much of the panel effects literature. The refined model illustrates how doctrines, instruments, and the level of decision transparency between lower and higher courts condition the impact of panel effects on judicial decision making. The implications of recent empirical findings of panel effects are reevaluated through this more refined perspective.

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