NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Judicial Checks and Balances

Rafael LaPorta, Florencio Lopez-de-Silane, Cristian Pop-Eleches, Andrei Shleifer

NBER Working Paper No. 9775
Issued in June 2003
NBER Program(s):   EFG   LE

In the Anglo-American constitutional tradition, judicial checks and balances are often seen as crucial guarantees of freedom. Hayek (1960) distinguishes two ways in which the judiciary provides such checks and balances: judicial independence and constitutional review. We create a new data base of constitutional rules in 71 countries that reflect these provisions. We find strong support for the proposition that both judicial independence and constitutional review are associated with greater freedom. Consistent with theory, judicial independence accounts for some of the positive effect of common law legal origin on measures of economic freedom. The results point to significant benefits of the Anglo-American system of government for freedom.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9775

Published: 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.

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