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Judicial Checks and Balances

  • Rafael La Porta
  • Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes
  • Cristian Pop-Eleches
  • Andrei Shleifer

In the Anglo-American constitutional tradition, judicial checks and balances are often seen as crucial guarantees of freedom. Hayek distinguishes two ways in which the judiciary provides such checks and balances: judicial independence and constitutional review. We create a new database 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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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 112 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 445-470

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:112:y:2004:i:2:p:445-470
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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  1. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Working Paper 19443, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  2. Djankov, Simeon & Glaeser, Edward & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez de Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The new comparative economics," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3054, The World Bank.
  3. 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.
  4. Landes, William M & Posner, Richard A, 1975. "The Independent Judiciary in an Interest-Group Perspective," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 875-901, December.
  5. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125511 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. 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.
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