Consensus and Ideology at the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
Abstract: This paper sets up a model for estimating the extent to which judicial voting behavior is the result of a norm of consensus when there is heterogeneity in the cost of dissenting across different areas of law. We derive a two-stage model to test this hypothesis on data from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) in the period 1998-2011. The first-stage estimates political ideology from sincere voting and from there a proxy for dissent suppression (propensity towards consensus) is constructed. The second-stage uses a hierarchical model of voting to test for heterogeneity in the cost of dissenting across different areas of law (i.e., devolution, domestic and Commonwealth appeals). We find that the intensity to suppress dissent is stronger in devolution cases, which are those with a higher political content.