Analyzing preliminary references as the powerbase of the European Court of Justice
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is a very powerful court compared to other international courts and even national courts of last resort. Observers almost unanimously agree that it is the preliminary references procedure that made the ECJ the powerful court it is today. In this article, we analyze the factors that lead national courts to use the procedure. We add to previous studies by constructing a comprehensive panel dataset (1982–2008) and identify the economic structure, familiarity with EU law, and tenure of democracy as new determinants.
KeywordsEuropean Court of Justice Court behavior Preliminary reference procedure
JEL ClassificationH77 K33
The authors thank Andreas Engert, Christoph Engel, Paulo Guimarães, Mariusz Goleckifor, Gerhard Wagner, Daniel Zimmer, two anonymous referees as well as the editors of this journal for helpful comments and suggestions. We would like to thank the European Association of Law & Economics (Hamburg 2011), the German Association of Law & Economics (Bonn 2011) and the American Law and Economic Association (Stanford 2012) participants.
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