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How to Measure the Rule of Law

Stefan Voigt

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

June 15, 2009

I argue that the rule of law consists of many dimensions and that much information is lost when variables proxying for these dimensions are simply aggregated. I draw on the most important innovations from various legal traditions to propose a concept of the rule of law likely to find general support. To make the concept measurable, an ideal approach is contrasted with a pragmatic one. The pragmatic approach consists of eight different dimensions. I show that the bivariate correlations between them are usually very low, evidence that more fine-grained indicators of the rule of law, rather than a single hard-to-interpret one, are necessary for its measurement. The paper presents a list of desirable variables that could improve the measurement of various aspects of the rule of law.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 25

Keywords: Rule of Law, Institutions, Governance, Measurement, Formal vs. Informal Institutions

JEL Classification: B41, C81/82, H11, K00, O17, O43, O57

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Date posted: June 16, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Voigt, Stefan, How to Measure the Rule of Law (June 15, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1420287 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1420287

Contact Information

Stefan Voigt (Contact Author)
University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics ( email )
Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
+49-40-428385782 (Phone)
+49-40-428386794 (Fax)
CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)
Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679

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References:  28
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