March 13, 2023
Muslim judges are more likely to give lenient decisions while fasting during Ramadan, a study said Monday, contrasting to previous research suggesting that judges who have not eaten give harsher rulings.
In what has been dubbed "the hungry judge effect", a 2011 study found that judges in Israel were more likely to deny criminals parole before they ate lunch than afterwards.
Sultan Mehmood of Russia's New Economic School, the lead author of the new study, told AFP that he was curious to see if the same effect occurred during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims typically go without food or water from dawn to sunset.
To find out, Mehmood and two other economic researchers sifted through a huge amount of criminal sentencing data, including roughly half a million cases and 10,000 judges, covering a 50-year period in India and Pakistan, two of the top three countries with the largest Muslim populations.