Do judges hate speculators?

People often express negative feelings towards speculators, who may have intensified since the recent financial crisis, when taxpayers' money was used to rescue financial institutions. In a lab-in-the-field experiment, Prof. Dr. Lars Hornuf and the jurist Prof. Dr. Lars Klöhn from the HU Berlin are investigating whether judges have a negative attitude towards speculators, which could affect their professional decision-making. They first interviewed 123 lawyers and 247 law students in Germany, who predicted that the judges would be biased against speculators in the experiment. However, in the actual experiment, 185 judges showed no such bias. In another experiment among 170 professional lawyers, however, they found a weak indication of bias towards speculators. The results suggest that an independent audience perceives unbiased judgments as biased. While literature usually indicates that there is a communication problem between lawyers and non-lawyers - i.e. between judges and the public - the authors note that this problem can also exist within the legal community. The publication on the experiments can be found here.