Judicial Independence in Latin America and the (Conflicting) Influence of Cultural Norms

26 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2014  

Roberto Laver

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics

Date Written: January 23, 2014

Abstract

This Working Paper highlights the dimension of informal social norms in institutional corruption by using Latin American judiciaries, collectively, as a test case. Judicial independence is central to the integrity and trustworthiness of judicial institutions worldwide. Billions of dollars in development assistance have been invested in promoting judicial independence in Latin American and other developing countries. Despite the institutional reforms sponsored by international development organizations, judiciaries in Latin America remain dependent on political and other inappropriate influences. This paper argues that addressing judicial corruption in Latin America is not just a question of adopting the right institutions and living “happily ever after.” The paper claims that informal social norms are key factors underlying institutional corruption in the judicial systems in Latin America. Further systematic study of such phenomena should be a central focus of future anti-corruption reform efforts.

This Working Paper is part of a broader writing project on international development assistance in promoting the rule of law and judicial independence.

Keywords: Institutional Corruption, Judicial Corruption, World Bank, Trust, Social Norms, Favoritism, Nepotism, Latin America.

Suggested Citation

Laver, Roberto, Judicial Independence in Latin America and the (Conflicting) Influence of Cultural Norms (January 23, 2014). Edmond J. Safra Working Papers, No. 35. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2384125 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2384125

Roberto Laver (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics ( email )

124 Mount Auburn Street
Suite 520N
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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