Study shows defendants get tougher punishments following LSU upset loss

Sep 3, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA;   LSU Tigers safety John Battle (26) fires up fans prior to the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Upset losses hurt most fan-bases. But for LSU, it may hurt more; especially when it comes to judges who graduated from LSU.

According to a recent study, judges who received their undergraduate degree from LSU handed out harsher sentences following an LSU football upset loss. The study examined every defendant case file from 1996-2012 for juveniles in the state of Louisiana.

Naci Mocan and Ozkan Eren, who both teach economics at LSU, conducted the study.

Mocan and Eren wrote, “The effects of these emotional shocks (upsets) are asymmetrically borne by black defendants. We present evidence that the results are not influenced by defendant or attorney behavior or by defendants’ economic background. Importantly, the results are driven by judges who have received their bachelor’s degrees from the university with which the football team is affiliated. Different falsification tests and a number of auxiliary analyses demonstrate the robustness of the findings.

“These results provide evidence for the impact of emotions in one domain on a behavior in a completely unrelated domain among a uniformly highly-educated group of individuals (judges), with decisions involving high stakes (sentence lengths).”

The research showed that imposed sentences from judges who received undergraduate degrees from LSU could sometimes be 74 days longer after an upset loss for the Tigers as opposed to those judges who received their degrees from other schools.

The entire study can be read here.

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