Coase-Sandor Working Paper Series in Law and Economics
Political Ideology and the Law Review Selection Process
We investigate the role that political ideology plays in the selection process for articles in law reviews. To do so, we match data on the political ideology of student editors from 15 top law reviews from 1990 to 2005 to data on the political ideology of the authors of accepted articles. We find that law review with a higher share of conservative editors accept a higher share of articles written by conservative authors. We then investigate potential explanations for this pattern. One possibility is that editors have a preference for publishing articles written by authors that share their ideology. Another possibility is that editors are objectively better at assessing the contribution of articles written by authors that share their ideology. We find evidence that the relationship between editor and author ideology is driven by editors' greater ability to screen articles written by authors that share their ideology.