The Impact of Experience on How We Perceive the Rule of Law
Pompeu Fabra University, Economics and Business Working Paper Series 1683
40 Pages Posted: 30 Dec 2019 Last revised: 23 Feb 2020
Date Written: November 29, 2019
Experience is a major source of knowledge. Could institutions be improved by eliciting the additional knowledge held by experienced individuals? I show here that in several areas of the law experienced individuals are more critical of institutional quality than inexperienced individuals. Moreover, performance indexes built with experienced subsamples substantially alter country rankings. Assuming no unmeasured confounders, more knowledge arguably leads experienced individuals to revise the more benign view held by the general population, composed mostly of inexperienced individuals. Moreover, experience is a stronger driver than alternative sources of knowledge, including education, which might therefore be reinforcing milder and, arguably, incorrect assessments of institutional quality. After observing how this “experience effect” varies systematically across countries, I conclude by proposing that evaluations of institutional quality pay greater attention to experienced individuals and cautioning against basing inferences on assessments made by the general population.
Keywords: institutions, experience, knowledge, perception, rule of law, measurement
JEL Classification: D02, D71, D83, K12, K14, K31, K32, K41, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation