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Judicial accountability and economic policy outcomes: evidence from employment discrimination charges

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  • Tim Besley

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and London School of Economics)

  • Abigail Payne

Abstract

How and whether judges should be held accountable is a key issue in the design of a legal system. Thirty-seven of the forty-eight continental states use some method of judicial selection which involves a direct role for citizens in selecting or re-appointing the judiciary. We identify two theoretical reasons why the method used for choosing judges is important – (i) a selection effect if the competence or underlying preferences of judges is affected, (ii) an incentive effect if the judges who are chosen behave differently because of the method used for their reappointment. This paper uses data from the U.S. to investigate whether judicial selection methods affect the number of employment discrimination charges filed for the period 1973- 2000. Our results show that states that appoint their judges have lower levels of discrimination charges compared to those that use some form of election. The results appear to be driven by states where judges being subject to re-election incentives rather than because judges with different preferences/competences are being chosen.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W03/11.

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Length: 32 pp
Date of creation: Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:03/11

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  1. Hanssen, F Andrew, 2000. "Independent Courts and Administrative Agencies: An Empirical Analysis of the States," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 534-71, October.
  2. Hanssen, F Andrew, 2002. " On the Politics of Judicial Selection: Lawyers and State Campaigns for the Merit Plan," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 110(1-2), pages 79-97, January.
  3. Besley, Timothy J. & Case, Anne, 2002. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 3498, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Besley, Timothy J. & Coate, Stephen, 2000. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory And Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 2381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Henning Bohn & Robert P. Inman, 1996. "Balanced Budget Rules and Public Deficits: Evidence from the U.S. States," NBER Working Papers 5533, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Besley, Timothy J. & Coate, Stephen, 2001. "Issue Unbundling via Citizens' initiatives," CEPR Discussion Papers 2857, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Hanssen, F Andrew, 1999. "The Effect of Judicial Institutions on Uncertainty and the Rate of Litigation: The Election versus Appointment of State Judges," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 205-32, January.
  8. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Cristian Pop-Eleches & Andrei Shleifer, 2003. "Judicial Checks and Balances," NBER Working Papers 9775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "Legal Origins," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1920, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  10. F. Andrew Hanssen, 2004. "Is There a Politically Optimal Level of Judicial Independence?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 712-729, June.
  11. David Neumark & Wendy A. Stock, 2001. "The Effects of Race and Sex Discrimination Laws," NBER Working Papers 8215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 1975. "The Independent Judiciary in an Interest-Group Perspective," NBER Working Papers 0110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
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Cited by:
  1. Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Positive constitutional economics II—a survey of recent developments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 205-256, January.
  2. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Economics Working Papers 0020, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  3. George Tridimas, 2010. "Constitutional judicial review and political insurance," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 81-101, February.
  4. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Cristian Pop-Eleches & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Judicial Checks and Balances," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 445-470, April.
  5. Gary Hoover & Sondra Collins, 2013. "Elected Versus Appointed County Commission Executives: Race, Political Favors and Support Facilities," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 449-457, December.
  6. Claire Lim, 2009. "Turnover and Accountability of Appointed and Elected Judges," 2009 Meeting Papers 190, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Lars P. Feld & Stefan Voigt, 2004. "Making Judges Independent – Some Proposals Regarding the Judiciary+," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200429, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

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