Non-confrontational extremists

Daniel L. Chen, Moti Michaeli, Daniel Spiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In many contexts individuals are subject to norms and decisions they disagree with ideologically. What is the effect of regularly being in an ideological minority on the propensity to confront majority norms and decisions? We study this in an ideologically-salient field setting – US appeals courts – using exogenous predictors of ideology and random assignment of judges. We find that ideological interaction silences extremists: Judges who are ideologically extreme relative to their peers are less confrontational – dissent less often – than other judges, despite shaping case outcomes the least. Considering many mechanisms, we find that a model of peer pressure where agents perceive concave ideological costs can explain the observations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104521
JournalEuropean Economic Review
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


  • Group decision making
  • Ideology
  • Judicial decision making
  • Peer pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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