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The (Economic) Effects of Lay Participation in Courts – A Cross-Country Analysis

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  • Stefan Voigt

Abstract

Legal philosophers like Montesquieu, Hegel and Tocqueville have argued that lay participation in judicial decision-making would have benefits reaching far beyond the realm of the legal system narrowly understood. From an economic point of view, lay participation in judicial decision-making can be interpreted as a renunciation of an additional division of labor, which is expected to cause foregone benefits in terms of the costs as well as the quality of judicial decision-making. In order to be justified, these foregone benefits need to be overcompensated by other – actually realized – benefits of at least the same magnitude. This paper discusses pros and cons of lay participation, presents a new database and tests some of the theoretically derived hypotheses empirically. The effects of lay participation on the judicial system, a number of governance variables but also on economic performance indicators are rather modest. A proxy representing historic experiences with any kind of lay participation is the single most robust variable.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2365.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2365

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Keywords: economic effects of legal systems; judicial decision-making; trial by jury; jurors; lay assessors; constitutional economics; civil society; quality of governance; history of thought;

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  1. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Goverment," NBER Working Papers 6727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  3. Stefan Voigt, 2008. "The economic effects of judicial accountability: cross-country evidence," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 95-123, April.
  4. Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer:, . "Are Voters Better Informed When They Have a Larger Say in Politics? Evidence for the European Union and Switzerland," IEW - Working Papers 119, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Feld, Lars P. & Voigt, Stefan, 2003. "Economic growth and judicial independence: cross-country evidence using a new set of indicators," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 497-527, September.
  6. Bruno S. Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2003. "Introducing Procedural Utility: Not only What, but also How Matters," CREMA Working Paper Series, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA) 2003-02, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
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Cited by:
  1. Yamamura, Eiji, 2009. "What Discourages Participation in the Lay Judge System (Saiban’in Seido) of Japan? Interaction between the Secrecy Requirement and Social Networks," MPRA Paper 17197, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Yamamura, Eiji, 2009. "What discourages participation in the lay judge system (Saiban'in seido) of Japan? : an interaction effect between the secrecy requirement and social network," MPRA Paper 15920, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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