Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

IREF Europe - Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

Fiscal competition
and economic freedom

Identifying the Determinants of Judicial Performance: Taxpayers’ Money well spent?
By Stefan Voigt and Nora el Bialy

There has been a sizeable number of studies trying to identify the determinants of judicial performance on the country level. Such a design is appropriate to identify underperforming single judges or underperforming courts or court districts. But it is not appropriate to identify institutions conducive to judicial performance. A dataset produced by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) contains very detailed information on the judicial systems of the 47 member countries of the Council of Europe. Relying on this dataset we find that (i) judicial efficiency is not a function of per capita income. In other words: poor countries can also afford it. (ii) judicial efficiency is not a function of the court budget. As such, a higher budget will not “buy” a more efficient judiciary. (iii) judicial efficiency is negatively – and very robustly – correlated with judicial councils, in other words: countries that do not have them should not introduce them.

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