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Judicial review and the power of the executive and legislative branches

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  • Hamilton, Jonathan
  • Slutsky, Steven

Abstract

The legal system can affect what policies a government can implement. In particular, when there is separation of powers, the strength of the judiciary to review and overturn actions of the executive and legislative branches can affect such things as how much redistribution these policy-making branches can do. Surprisingly, having judicial review helps the policy-making branches—the stronger is the judiciary, the more redistribution they are able to do. This occurs because the policy-making branches must make promises on and off the equilibrium path to individuals in order to make redistribution possible. However, in many circumstances, the government wants to renege on these promises, either to do more redistribution than promised or to not carry out severe threats against any individuals who lied. Judicial review can prevent reneging on these promises, thus making them credible.

Suggested Citation

  • Hamilton, Jonathan & Slutsky, Steven, 2017. "Judicial review and the power of the executive and legislative branches," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 67-85.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:reecon:v:71:y:2017:i:1:p:67-85
    DOI: 10.1016/j.rie.2016.11.001
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