How Judges Think in the Brazilian Supreme Court: Estimating Ideal Points and Identifying Dimensions

EconomiA 15 (2014) 275–293

19 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2018

See all articles by Pedro Fernando Nery Ferreira

Pedro Fernando Nery Ferreira

Universidade de Brasília (UnB) - Department of Economics

Bernardo Mueller

Universidade de Brasilia

Date Written: December 20, 2014

Abstract

We use NOMINATE (Nominal Three Step Estimation) (Poole and Rosenthal, 1983, 1997) to estimate ideal pointsfor all Supreme Court Justices in Brazil from 2002 to 2012. Based on these estimated preferences we identify the nature of the two main dimensions along which disagreements tend to occur in this Court. These estimates correctly predict over 95% of the votes on constitutional review cases in each of the compositions of the Court which we analyze. The main contribution of the paper is to identify that the main dimension along which preferences align in the Brazilian Supreme Court is for and against the economic interest of the Executive. This is significantly different than the conservative-liberal polarization of the US Supreme Court. Our estimates show that along this dimension the composition of the Court has been clearly favorable to the Executive’s economic interests, providing the setting in which the dramatic transformation in institutions and policies that the country has undergone in last two decades could take place.

Keywords: Supreme Court; Ideal Points; Political Institutions; Law and Economics

JEL Classification: H5, H77, K10, K39

Suggested Citation

Nery Ferreira, Pedro Fernando and Mueller, Bernardo, How Judges Think in the Brazilian Supreme Court: Estimating Ideal Points and Identifying Dimensions (December 20, 2014). EconomiA 15 (2014) 275–293. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3091278

Pedro Fernando Nery Ferreira

Universidade de Brasília (UnB) - Department of Economics ( email )

Brasilia, DF 70910-900
Brazil

Bernardo Mueller (Contact Author)

Universidade de Brasilia ( email )

Dept. de Economia
Universidade de Brasilia
Brasilia, DF 70910-900
Brazil
55 61 981110349 (Phone)
55 61 3349-1303 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://bpmmueller.wixsite.com/bernardo-mueller

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
22
Abstract Views
88
PlumX Metrics