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The effects of lay participation in courts -- A cross-country analysis


  • Voigt, Stefan


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Voigt, Stefan, 2009. "The effects of lay participation in courts -- A cross-country analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 327-339, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:25:y:2009:i:3:p:327-339

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Are Voters Better Informed When They Have a Larger Say in Politics? -- Evidence for the European Union and Switzerland," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 31-59, April.
    2. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    3. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Courts: the Lex Mundi Project," NBER Working Papers 8890, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
    5. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    6. Niclas Berggren & Mikael Elinder & Henrik Jordahl, 2008. "Trust and growth: a shaky relationship," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 251-274, September.
    7. 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, vol. 19(3), pages 497-527, September.
    8. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Voigt, 2017. "Tullock on the common law: a loose-cannon iconoclast in action?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 35-47, March.
    2. Goerke, Laszlo & Neugart, Michael, 2015. "Lobbying and dismissal dispute resolution systems," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 50-62.
    3. Berger, Helge & Neugart, Michael, 2011. "Labor courts, nomination bias, and unemployment in Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 659-673.


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