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Advisors to Elites

Untangling Their Effect

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2022

Sara C. Benesh*
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
David A. Armstrong II
Affiliation:
Western University
Zachary Wallander
Affiliation:
Northwestern Mutual
*
Contact the corresponding author, Sara C. Benesh, at sbenesh@uwm.edu.

Abstract

Because decision making is complicated, political elites seek advice when making decisions, and the ways in which they use that advice has systematic features. But, analyses of decision making among elites usually fail to account for advice. We take advantage of unique information about the advice provided to one set of elites to empirically uncover the effect of advice. Specifically, we examine law clerk recommendations on cert to Justice Blackmun. We find that, even after controlling for known determinants of cert and considering sequential decision making, the advice of a trusted advisor matters greatly.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2020 by the Law and Courts Organized Section of the American Political Science Association. All rights reserved.

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Footnotes

The authors thank anonymous reviewers for suggestions that strengthened the article as well as attendees at a long-ago Marquette Law School conference on law clerks (“Judicial Assistants or Junior Judges,” organized by Todd Peppers and Chad Oldfather in spring 2014) that was very informative. All errors of commission or omission that remain are ours.

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