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Explaining Constitutional Change: The Case of Judicial Independence

  • Bernd Hayo
  • Stefan Voigt

This paper studies the factors driving changes in judicial independence (JI) as incorporated in constitutions. Two indicators of constitutionally safeguarded JI are constructed. Variations in these indicators are identified based on changes in the constitutions of as many as 100 countries that occurred between 1950 and 2005. Four groups of factors are conjectured to be relevant for explaining these changes. We find only weak evidence for the insurance theory of judicial independence but strong evidence that the characteristics of individual leaders—such as how they acquired or lost power—play an important role in explaining changes in constitutionally safeguarded JI. This paper contributes not only to the literature on JI but also to the theory of endogenous constitutions.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4032.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4032
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  1. Philippe Aghion & Albero Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2002. "Endogenous Political Institutions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1957, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. repec:oup:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:1:p:249-275 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2003. "Endogenous Constitutions," Seminar Papers 726, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  4. Bernd Hayo & Stefan Voigt, 2003. "Explaining de facto judicial independence," ICER Working Papers 01-2004, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  5. Tim Bollerslev, 1986. "Generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," EERI Research Paper Series EERI RP 1986/01, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
  6. F. Andrew Hanssen, 2004. "Is There a Politically Optimal Level of Judicial Independence?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 712-729, June.
  7. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2012. "Leaders’ Impact on Public Spending Priorities: The Case of the German Laender," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201209, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  8. Feld, Lars P. & Voigt, Stefan, 2003. "Economic growth and judicial independence: cross-country evidence using a new set of indicators," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 497-527, September.
  9. 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.
  10. repec:oup:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:3:p:835-864 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Dollar, David & Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2001. "Are women really the "fairer" sex? Corruption and women in government," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 423-429, December.
  12. Matthew C. Stephenson, 2003. "“When the Devil Turns … â€: The Political Foundations of Independent Judicial Review," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 59-89, 01.
  13. Ramseyer, J Mark, 1994. "The Puzzling (In)dependence of Courts: A Comparative Approach," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 721-47, June.
  14. Dreher, Axel & Lamla, Michael J. & Lein, Sarah M. & Somogyi, Frank, 2009. "The impact of political leaders' profession and education on reforms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 169-193, March.
  15. repec:oup:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:2:p:565-611 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Ebonya Washington, 2006. "Female Socialization: How Daughters Affect Their Legislator Fathers' Voting on Women's Issues," NBER Working Papers 11924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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