Jurisprudential regime theory is a legal explanation of decision-making on the U.S. Supreme Court that asserts that a key precedent in an area of law fundamentally restructures the relationship between case characteristics and the outcomes of future cases. In this article, we offer a multivariate multiple change-point probit model that can be used to endogenously test for the existence of jurisprudential regimes. Unlike the previously employed methods, our model does so by estimating the locations of many possible change-points along with structural parameters. We estimate the model using Markov chain Monte Carlo methods, and use Bayesian model comparison to determine the number of change-points. Our findings are consistent with jurisprudential regimes in the Establishment Clause and administrative law contexts. We find little support for hypothesized regimes in the areas of free speech and search-and-seizure. The Bayesian multi-variate change-point model we propose has broad potential applications to studying structural breaks in either regular or irregular time-series data about political institutions or processes.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kevin_quinn/37/