Tenured public officials such as judges are often thought to be indifferent to the concerns of the elctorate and, as a result, potentially lacking in discipline but unlikely to pander to public opinion. We investigate this proposition empirically using data on promotion decisions taken by senior English judges between 1985 and 2005. Throughout this period the popular view was one of ill-disciplined elitism: senior judges were alleged to be favouring candidates from elite backgrounds over their equally capable non-elite counterparts. We find no evidence of such ill-discipline; most of the unconditional difference in promotion prospects between the two groups can simply be explained by differences in promotion-relevant characteristics. However, exploiting an unexpected proposal to remove control over promotions from the judiciary, we do find evidence of pandering. When faced by the prospect of losing autonomy, senior judges began to favour non-elite candidates, as well as candidates who were unconnected to members of the promotion committee. Our finding that tenured public officials can display both the upsides and downsides of electoral accountability has implications for the literature on political agency, as well as recent constitutional reforms.
|Date of creation:||01 Apr 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Manor Rd. Building, Oxford, OX1 3UQ|
Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Eric Maskin, 2003.
"The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government,"
Theory workshop papers
505798000000000076, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
- Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Economics Working Papers 0020, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
- Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1990. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Job Ladders," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S106-23, January.
- Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2007.
"Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part I: A Single Policy Task,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 169-179, March.
- Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2007. "Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part I: A Single Policy Task," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000870, David K. Levine.
- Eric Le Borgne & Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2007. "Dynamic Incentives and the Optimal Delegation of Political Power," IMF Working Papers 07/91, International Monetary Fund.
- Christian Schultz, 2003.
"Information, Polarization and Delegation in Democracy,"
EPRU Working Paper Series
03-16, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
- Christian Schultz, 2003. "Information, Polarization and Delegation in Democracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 1104, CESifo Group Munich.
- Train,Kenneth E., 2009.
"Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521766555, October.
- John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
- Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Oscar Volij, 2004.
"The Measurement of Intellectual Influence,"
Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 963-977, 05.
- Volij, Oscar & Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio, 2004. "The Measurment of Intellectual Influence," Staff General Research Papers 10797, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Oscar Volij, 2002. "The Measurement of Intellectual Influence," Economic theory and game theory 015, Oscar Volij.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:390. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Monica Birds)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.