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Judicial Checks and Balances

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  • Rafael LaPorta
  • Florencio Lopez-de-Silane
  • Cristian Pop-Eleches
  • Andrei Shleifer

Abstract

In the Anglo-American constitutional tradition, judicial checks and balances are often seen as crucial guarantees of freedom. Hayek (1960) distinguishes two ways in which the judiciary provides such checks and balances: judicial independence and constitutional review. We create a new data base of constitutional rules in 71 countries that reflect these provisions. We find strong support for the proposition that both judicial independence and constitutional review are associated with greater freedom. Consistent with theory, judicial independence accounts for some of the positive effect of common law legal origin on measures of economic freedom. The results point to significant benefits of the Anglo-American system of government for freedom.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9775.

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Date of creation: Jun 2003
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Publication status: published as 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.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9775

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  1. Tim Besley & Abigail Payne, 2003. "Judicial accountability and economic policy outcomes: evidence from employment discrimination charges," IFS Working Papers W03/11, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirguc-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2002. "Law and Finance: why Does Legal Origin Matter?," NBER Working Papers 9379, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1788, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. 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.
  5. Simeon Djankov & Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2003. "The New Comparative Economics," NBER Working Papers 9608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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