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Judicial Independence in a Civil Law Regime: The Evidence from Japan

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  • Ramseyer, J Mark
  • Rasmusen, Eric B

Abstract

Because the Japanese judiciary exclusively hires young and unproven jurists for its lower courts, it maintains elaborate career incentive structures. We use personnel data on 276 judges (every judge hired between 1961 and 1965) to explore the determinants of career success and test whether politicians manipulate those incentives. We find strong evidence that the system rewards the most productive judges, but little evidence of ongoing school cliques, and no evidence that the system favors judges who mediate over those who write opinions. We also find that even as late as the 1980s, those judges who joined a prominent leftist organization in the 1960s were still receiving less attractive jobs than their colleagues. Moreover, judges who decided a case against the government incurred the rise that the government would punish them with less attractive posts. Finally, judges who declared unconstitutional a crucial section of the electoral law received less attractive posts than those who held it constitutional. Copyright 1997 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Ramseyer, J Mark & Rasmusen, Eric B, 1997. "Judicial Independence in a Civil Law Regime: The Evidence from Japan," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 259-286, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:13:y:1997:i:2:p:259-86
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    Cited by:

    1. Lambert-Mogiliansky, Ariane & Sonin, Konstantin & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2007. "Are Russian commercial courts biased? Evidence from a bankruptcy law transplant," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 254-277, June.
    2. Pablo T. Spiller, 2003. "The Institutional Foundations of Public Policy: A Transactions Approach with Application to Argentina," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 281-306, October.
    3. Pablo T Spiller & Rafael Gely, 2007. "Strategic Judicial Decision Making," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001409, David K. Levine.
    4. J. Mark Ramseyer & Eric B. Rasmusen, 2001. "When are Judges and Bureaucrats Left Independent? Theory and History from Imperial Japan, Postwar Japan, and the United States," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-126, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    5. Daniel P. Kessler & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 2004. "Empirical Study of the Civil Justice System," NBER Working Papers 10825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Melcarne Alessandro & Ramello Giovanni B., 2015. "Judicial Independence, Judges’ Incentives and Efficiency," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 149-169, July.
    7. Tom Ginsburg, 2002. "Comparative Administrative Procedure: Evidence from Northeast Asia," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 247-264, September.
    8. Hiroko Okudaira, 2009. "The Economic Costs of Court Decisions Concerning Dismissals in Japan: Identification by Judge Transfers," ISER Discussion Paper 0733r, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University, revised Sep 2015.
    9. Padovano, Fabio & Fiorino, Nadia, 2012. "Strategic delegation and “judicial couples” in the Italian Constitutional Court," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 215-223.
    10. Martin Schneider, 2002. "Judicial Lawmaking in a Civil Law System: Evidence from German Labor Courts of Appeal," IAAEG Discussion Papers until 2011 200202, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    11. repec:kap:copoec:v:29:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10602-017-9252-z is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Andrei Shleifer & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Rafael La Porta, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 285-332, June.
    13. Pushkar Maitra & Russell Smyth, 2004. "Judicial Independence, Judicial Promotion and the Enforcement of Legislative Wealth Transfers—An Empirical Study of the New Zealand High Court," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 209-235, March.
    14. Dimitrova-Grajzl Valentina & Grajzl Peter & Zajc Katarina & Sustersic Janez, 2012. "Judicial Incentives and Performance at Lower Courts: Evidence from Slovenian Judge-Level Data," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 215-252, August.
    15. Fiorino, Nadia & Gavoille, Nicolas & Padovano, Fabio, 2015. "Rewarding judicial independence: Evidence from the Italian Constitutional Court," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 56-66.
    16. repec:kap:ejlwec:v:44:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10657-017-9565-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Lars P. Feld & Stefan Voigt, 2004. "Making Judges Independent – Some Proposals Regarding the Judiciary," CESifo Working Paper Series 1260, CESifo Group Munich.
    18. Carney, Richard, 2004. "Economic Backwardness in Security Perspective," MPRA Paper 3279, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Pablo T. Spiller & Sanny Liao, 2006. "Buy, Lobby or Sue: Interest Groups' Participation in Policy Making - A Selective Survey," NBER Working Papers 12209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Brooks, Robert & Davidson, Sinclair & Faff, Robert, 2003. "Sudden changes in property rights: the case of Australian native title," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 427-442, December.
    21. Hadfield, Gillian K., 2008. "The levers of legal design: Institutional determinants of the quality of law," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 43-73, March.

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