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Judicial accountability and economic policy outcomes: evidence from employment discrimination charges

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  • Tim Besley

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and London School of Economics)

  • Abigail Payne

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

Abstract

How and whether judges should be held accountable is a key issue in the design of a legal system. Thirty-seven of the forty-eight continental states use some method of judicial selection which involves a direct role for citizens in selecting or re-appointing the judiciary. We identify two theoretical reasons why the method used for choosing judges is important (i) a selection effect if the competence or underlying preferences of judges is affected, (ii) an incentive effect if the judges who are chosen behave differently because of the method used for their reappointment. This paper uses data from the U.S. to investigate whether judicial selection methods affect the number of employment discrimination charges filed for the period 1973- 2000. Our results show that states that appoint their judges have lower levels of discrimination charges compared to those that use some form of election. The results appear to be driven by states where judges being subject to re-election incentives rather than because judges with different preferences/competences are being chosen.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:03/11
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tim Besley, 2002. "Political institutions and policy choices: evidence from the United States," IFS Working Papers W02/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 404-415.
    3. 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.
    4. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Legal Origins," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1193-1229.
    5. David Neumark & Wendy A. Stock, 2001. "The Effects of Race and Sex Discrimination Laws," NBER Working Papers 8215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 7-73.
    7. Hanssen, F Andrew, 2002. "On the Politics of Judicial Selection: Lawyers and State Campaigns for the Merit Plan," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 110(1-2), pages 79-97, January.
    8. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, September.
    9. Hanssen, F Andrew, 1999. "The Effect of Judicial Institutions on Uncertainty and the Rate of Litigation: The Election versus Appointment of State Judges," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, pages 205-232.
    10. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 7-73.
    11. Bohn, Henning & Inman, Robert P., 1996. "Balanced-budget rules and public deficits: evidence from the U.S. states," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, pages 13-76.
    12. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2008. "Issue Unbundling via Citizens' Initiatives," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, pages 379-397.
    13. 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.
    14. F. Andrew Hanssen, 2004. "Is There a Politically Optimal Level of Judicial Independence?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 712-729.
    15. Bohn, Henning & Inman, Robert P., 1996. "Balanced-budget rules and public deficits: evidence from the U.S. states," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, pages 13-76.
    16. Hanssen, F Andrew, 2000. "Independent Courts and Administrative Agencies: An Empirical Analysis of the States," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 534-571, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Positive constitutional economics II—a survey of recent developments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 205-256, January.
    2. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1034-1054.
    3. 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.
    4. Hayo, Bernd & Voigt, Stefan, 2007. "Explaining de facto judicial independence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 269-290, September.
    5. James M. Snyder & David Stromberg & Claire S.H. Lim, 2010. "Measuring Media Influence on U.S. State Courts," 2010 Meeting Papers 1193, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Dove, John A., 2015. "The effect of judicial independence on entrepreneurship in the US states," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 72-96.
    7. Andrew Atkeson & Ariel Tomás Burstein, 2010. "Innovation, Firm Dynamics, and International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 433-484, June.
    8. Gary Hoover & Sondra Collins, 2013. "Elected Versus Appointed County Commission Executives: Race, Political Favors and Support Facilities," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, pages 449-457.
    9. George Tridimas, 2010. "Constitutional judicial review and political insurance," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 81-101, February.
    10. Lars P. Feld & Stefan Voigt, 2004. "Making Judges Independent – Some Proposals Regarding the Judiciary+," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200429, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    11. Daniel Berkowitz & Karen Clay, 2006. "The Effect of Judicial Independence on Courts: Evidence from the American States," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, pages 399-440.
    12. Lars P. Feld & Stefan Voigt, 2004. "Making Judges Independent – Some Proposals Regarding the Judiciary," CESifo Working Paper Series 1260, CESifo Group Munich.

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