NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Quality of Judicial Institutions, Crimes, Misdemeanors, and Dishonesty

Naci H. Mocan, Samantha Bielen, Wim Marneffe

NBER Working Paper No. 24396
Issued in March 2018
NBER Program(s):Law and Economics, Labor Studies, Public Economics, Political Economy

We investigate the extent to which the quality of judicial institutions has an impact on individuals’ propensity for criminal and dishonest behavior and on their views regarding the acceptability of dishonesty and law-breaking. We use micro data on residents of 25 European countries and employ alternative measures of judicial quality. Acknowledging that the quality of judicial institutions is endogenous, we employ as an instrument the procedures with which prosecutors and judges are appointed to their posts in each country. The results reveal that an increase in the quality of judicial institutions, such as an improvement in judicial independence or the impartiality of the courts, has a deterrent effect on dishonest and criminal acts. A higher quality judicial system makes individuals less likely to find acceptable a variety dishonest and illicit behaviors, suggesting that institutions help shape the beliefs of the society.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24396

 
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