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Judicial Checks and Balances

Author

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Cristian Pop-Eleches & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Judicial Checks and Balances," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 445-470, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:112:y:2004:i:2:p:445-470
    DOI: 10.1086/381480
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Regulation of Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37.
    2. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Legal Origins," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1193-1229.
    3. Juan C. Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382.
    4. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    5. La Porta, Rafael & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1131-1150, July.
    6. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    7. Djankov, Simeon & Glaeser, Edward & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The new comparative economics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 595-619, December.
    8. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Law and finance: why does legal origin matter?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 653-675, December.
    9. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
    10. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    11. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 803-832, December.
    12. 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.
    13. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 2001. "Incentives and Political Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199248681.
    14. Shleifer, Andrei & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-De-Silanes, Florencio & Vishny, Robert W., 1997. "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Scholarly Articles 30728041, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    15. 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.
    16. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Vishny, Robert & Shleifer, Andrei, 1999. "The quality of government," Scholarly Articles 30747160, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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