Saturday, November 10, 2012
Calhoun (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Whether policies shift preferences is important in policy design. We isolate exogenous variation in abortion jurisprudence using the random assignment of Democratic appointee judges, which strongly increases the probability of a liberal abortion decision. We also document that newspapers report appellate abortion decisions and conduct a field experiment assigning workers to transcribe these news reports. Using both sources of variation, we find that exposure to liberal abortion precedent lead to more conservative public opinions. Our results are consistent with a signaling model where legal decisions affect the ability to signal one’s moral type and the social perception of particular actions.