Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Preprints, Working Papers, ...

The impact of Presidential appointment of judges: Montesquieu or the Federalists?

Abstract : A central idea in the institutions and development literature is whether the executive is adequately checked by the legislature and judiciary (North, 1990; Acemoglu et al., 2001; La Porta et al., 2004). This paper provides plausibly causal evidence on how increased constraints on the executive, through removal of Presidential discretion in judicial appointments, impacts judicial decision-making. In particular, we find that when the judge selection procedure in Pakistan changed, from the President appointing judges to appointments by judge peers, rulings in favor of the government decreased significantly and the quality of judicial decisions improved. The age structure of judges at the time of the reform and the mandatory retirement age law provide us with an exogenous source of variation in the implementation of the selection reform. We test for and provide evidence against potential threats to identification and alternative explanations for our findings. The analysis of mechanisms reveals that our results are explained by rulings in politically salient cases and by “patronage” judges who hold political office prior to their appointments. According to our estimates, Presidential appointment of judges results in additional land expropriations by the government worth 0.14 percent of GDP every year.
Document type :
Preprints, Working Papers, ...
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Elisabeth Lhuillier Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, March 8, 2021 - 10:47:58 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 10:50:33 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 6:36:13 PM


WP 2021 - Nr 18.pdf
Files produced by the author(s)


  • HAL Id : halshs-03161933, version 1




Sultan Mehmood. The impact of Presidential appointment of judges: Montesquieu or the Federalists?. 2021. ⟨halshs-03161933⟩



Record views


Files downloads