European Journal of Law and Economics

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 95–123 | Cite as

The economic effects of judicial accountability: cross-country evidence

  • Stefan VoigtEmail author


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 hypothesized that they can be complementary means towards achieving impartiality and, in turn, the rule of law. 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 and on the basis of 75 countries, these proxies are highly significant for explaining differences in per capita income drawing both on OLS as well as TSLS.


Judicial independence Judicial accountability Rule of law Economic growth Corruption Constitutional political economy 

JEL Classifications

H11 K40 O40 P51 



The author thanks Lorenz Blume and Tobias Göthel for excellent research assistance, Oona Hathaway for making her data available, Anne van Aaken for numerous discussions on the topic and an anonymous referee for helpful suggestions. The paper was presented at the 5th Corsica Workshop in Law & Economics, the PPE-programmes of both George Mason and Duke University as well as at the annual meeting of the Public Choice Society 2005 in New Orleans and at the Law and Economics workshops of the Universities of Hamburg and Nancy. The author thanks those participants who made him improve the paper, in particular Roger Congleton and Samuel Ferey.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philipps-University MarburgMarburgGermany
  2. 2.ICERTorinoItaly

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