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Learning About Judicial Independence: Institutional Change In The State Courts

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  • Andrew Hanssen

    (Montana State University)

Abstract

There is widespread agreement that an independent judiciary is crucial to the growth of a nation. Yet systematic analysis of the development of independent courts is difficult, because, typically, formal judicial institutions seldom change. Here, I examine a formal judicial institution with substantial cross-sectional and time-series variation to explore: the procedure used to select and retain judges in the American states. Five different procedures emerged over the nation’s history, and all are in use today. I conclude as follows: Each new procedure was developed in order to increase the independence of state judges and was then superseded by a newer procedure, owing in large part to unanticipated agency problems. However, not all states changed procedures when the opportunity arose. States with larger legislative majorities, earlier entrance to the Union, or constitutional amendment requirements were less likely to adopt new procedures.

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Paper provided by American Law & Economics Association in its series American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings with number 1009.

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Handle: RePEc:bep:alecam:1009

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Cited by:
  1. Daniel Berkowitz & Karen Clay, . "Initial Conditions, Institutional Dynamics and Economic Performance: Evidence from the American States," American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings 1083, American Law & Economics Association.
  2. George Tridimas, 2010. "Constitutional judicial review and political insurance," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 81-101, February.
  3. Fleck, Robert K. & Hanssen, F. Andrew, 2010. "Repeated adjustment of delegated powers and the history of eminent domain," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 99-112, June.
  4. Daniel Berkowitz & Karen Clay, 2007. "Legal Origins and the Evolution of Institutions: Evidence from American State Courts," Working Papers 320, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2007.
  5. Guerriero, Carmine, 2011. "Accountability in government and regulatory policies: Theory and evidence," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 453-469.
  6. Christian Almer & Timo Goeschl, 2011. "The political economy of the environmental criminal justice system: a production function approach," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 611-630, September.
  7. Hadfield, Gillian K., 2008. "The levers of legal design: Institutional determinants of the quality of law," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 43-73, March.

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