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Explaining Constitutional Change: The Case of Judicial Independence

  • Bernd Hayo


    (University of Marburg)

  • Stefan Voigt


    (University of Hamburg)

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 Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung) in its series MAGKS Papers on Economics with number 201249.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in
Handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:201249
Contact details of provider: Postal: Universitätsstraße 25, 35037 Marburg
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  1. Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2003. "Endogenous Constitutions," Seminar Papers 726, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  2. Aghion, Philippe & Alesina, Alberto & Trebbi, Francesco, 2004. "Endogenous Political Institutions," Scholarly Articles 4481498, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Bernd Hayo and Stefan Voigt, 2005. "Explaining de facto Judicial Independence," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200507, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  10. William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 1975. "The Independent Judiciary in an Interest-Group Perspective," NBER Working Papers 0110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Bollerslev, Tim, 1986. "Generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 307-327, April.
  12. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864, August.
  13. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2012. "Leaders’ Impact on Public Spending Priorities: The Case of the German Laender," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 480-511, November.
  14. Matthew C. Stephenson, 2003. "“When the Devil Turns … ”: The Political Foundations of Independent Judicial Review," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 59-89, 01.
  15. 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.
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