Interest in specialized courts continues to grow, and some of this growth takes place outside of the U.S. To explore whether specialized courts achieve the goals claimed by proponents, a recent paper, Do Specialized Courts Make a Difference? Evidence from Brazilian State Supreme Courts, exploits variation in how Brazilian state supreme courts engage in constitutional review. In their paper, Carolina Arlota (Oklahoma) and Nuno Garoupa (Texas A&M) compare decisions from Brazil's non-specialized en banc courts and "specialized" court panels. An excerpted abstract follows.
"The dataset considered 630 cases of abstract review judged between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2010, across twenty-five state supreme courts of the Brazilian federation. The main purpose of our inquiry is to determine whether or not there are significant variations in the outcome of the cases of abstract review as a function of a specialized panel. We find some evidence that the existence of specialized panels matters for the likelihood and rates of dissent as well as duration of procedures, but not for other variables. Implications for legal reform are also discussed."