The Effect of Own-Gender Jurors on Conviction Rates
Despite concerns about gender bias in general and jurors’ gender in particular, little is known about the effect of jurors’ gender on conviction rates. We identify the effect of own-gender jurors by exploiting random variation in the assignment to and ordering of jury pools in two large Florida counties. Results indicate that own-gender jurors are significantly less likely to convict on drug charges, though we find no evidence of effects for other charges. Estimates indicate that adding one own-gender juror (∼1.6 standard deviations) results in a 30-percentage-point reduction in conviction rates on drug charges, which is highly significant even after adjusting for multiple comparisons. These findings highlight how drawing an opposite-gender jury can impose significant costs on defendants and demonstrate that own-gender bias can occur even in settings where the importance of being impartial is actively pressed on participants.