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Abstract Judicial Review, Legislative Bargaining, and Policy Compromise


  • Georg Vanberg


The constitutions of many parliamentary democracies provide for abstract judicial review, a proceeding that allows a specified parliamentary minority to initiate judicial review against legislation in the absence of a concrete case. The paper analyzes the impact that this proceeding has on legislative bargaining, using a simple game-theoretic model. The main conclusion is that the most important effects of abstract review are indirect and anticipatory. Furthermore, abstract review results in more moderate legislative proposals than would be expected in its absence. In this sense, it promotes what Lijphart has called `consensus democracy'. Finally, the model reveals that such moderation depends on the degree of judicial deference towards the legislature. Surprisingly, a court that is not deferential will be appealed to less than a deferential court, even though its influence on policy is larger.

Suggested Citation

  • Georg Vanberg, 1998. "Abstract Judicial Review, Legislative Bargaining, and Policy Compromise," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 10(3), pages 299-326, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jothpo:v:10:y:1998:i:3:p:299-326

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    1. repec:eee:irlaec:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:86-96 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Burkhart, Simone, 2008. "Blockierte Politik: Ursachen und Folgen von "Divided Government" in Deutschland," Schriften aus dem Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung Köln, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, volume 60, number 60.


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