Judging the justices

The Economic Effects of Judicial Accountability. Some Preliminary Insights.
Stefan Voigt


Judicial independence is not only a necessary condition for the impartiality
of judges, it can also endanger it: judges that are independent could have
incentives to remain uninformed, become lazy or even corrupt. It is
therefore often argued that judicial independence and judicial
accountability are competing ends. In this paper, it is, however,
hypothesized that they are not necessarily competing ends but can be
complementary means towards achieving impartiality and, in turn, the rule of

It is further argued that judicial accountability can increase per capita
income through various channels one of which is the reduction of corruption.
First tests concerning the economic effects of JA are carried out drawing on
the absence of corruption within the judiciary as well as data gathered by
the U.S. State Department as proxies. On the basis of 75 countries, these
proxies are highly significant for explaining diffe rences in per capita

Keywords: Judicial Independence; judicial accountability; rule of law;
economic growth; corruption; constitutional political economy.

JEL:H11 K40 O40 P51