The labor of judging: Examining administrative law judge decisions

Cole D. Taratoot, Robert M. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


There has been significant scholarly research on judicial decision making and bureaucratic control but little research on bureaucrats who perform a judicial function, namely, administrative law judges. In this article, we analyze the influences on the decisions of administrative law judges (ALJs) from 1991 to 2006. Using ordered logit, we examine the influence of policy preference and hierarchical and political constraint. We find that ALJs are comparable to Federal District Court judges in that they use ideology in their rulings, are also subject to hierarchical control by higher courts, and that they are constrained by separation of powers influences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)832-858
Number of pages27
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • administrative law
  • bureaucracy
  • bureaucratic control
  • judicial behavior
  • judicial decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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