Institutional Hysterisis: Courts and Politics in the American States (Chapters 5&6 of a Book Project)

93 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2009

See all articles by Daniel Berkowitz

Daniel Berkowitz

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics

Karen Clay

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 25, 2009

Abstract

These chapters document that civil law origins in the American States have had a persistent influence on the interactions between state courts and state legislatures during the twentieth century. One important philosophical difference between civil-law and common-law legal systems arises from differences in their beliefs regarding the appropriate degree of judicial independence. We document that legislatures in civil law states have been relatively slow in granting their judges independence during 1912-2000. Then, using data during 1960-2000, we show that civil law legislatures tend to cut judicial budgets when their judges become more independent. This legislative behavior is consistent with the predictions of a model that we build where legislatures have preferences for a weak or strong judiciary. Our results are consistent with previous chapters of this book which show that the political culture in state legislatures is slow-moving.

Keywords: legal origins, judicial retention, judicial independence, panel estimation

JEL Classification: N9, O5, P1

Suggested Citation

Berkowitz, Daniel and Clay, Karen B., Institutional Hysterisis: Courts and Politics in the American States (Chapters 5&6 of a Book Project) (June 25, 2009). CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1425725 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1425725

Daniel Berkowitz (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics ( email )

4711 WWPH
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-7072 (Phone)
412-648-3011 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.pitt.edu/~dmberk

Karen B. Clay

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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