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Power, composition, and decision making: the behavioral consequences of institutional reform on brazil’s supremo tribunal federal


Desposato, Scott W; Ingram, Matthew C; Lannes, Osmar P (2015). Power, composition, and decision making: the behavioral consequences of institutional reform on brazil’s supremo tribunal federal. Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, 31(3):534-567.

Abstract

How does a court’s policy-making authority shape the nature of judicial behavior? We argue that judicial systems that limit policy-making authority also discourage the politicization of courts, encouraging judges to think narrowly about the interests of litigating parties. In contrast, granting a court high policy-making authority—affecting potentially thousands of cases and other branches of government—naturally encourages judges to consider broader ideological principles. Typically, unraveling cause and effect would be difficult, as judicial behavior and institutions are usually stable and endogenous. But an especially stark sequence of political and institutional changes in Brazil affords analytic leverage to explore these questions. A series of judicial reforms greatly expanded the Brazilian Supreme Court’s authority, and our analysis of judicial decisions shows the emergence of a political cleavage on the court after these reforms.

Abstract

How does a court’s policy-making authority shape the nature of judicial behavior? We argue that judicial systems that limit policy-making authority also discourage the politicization of courts, encouraging judges to think narrowly about the interests of litigating parties. In contrast, granting a court high policy-making authority—affecting potentially thousands of cases and other branches of government—naturally encourages judges to consider broader ideological principles. Typically, unraveling cause and effect would be difficult, as judicial behavior and institutions are usually stable and endogenous. But an especially stark sequence of political and institutional changes in Brazil affords analytic leverage to explore these questions. A series of judicial reforms greatly expanded the Brazilian Supreme Court’s authority, and our analysis of judicial decisions shows the emergence of a political cleavage on the court after these reforms.

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Additional indexing

Other titles:Judicial Behavior in Civil Law Systems: Changing Patterns on the Brazilian Supremo Tribunal Federal
Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:12 Jan 2016 09:36
Last Modified:28 Aug 2018 16:42
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:8756-6222
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/jleo/ewu018
Related URLs:http://jleo.oxfordjournals.org/content/31/3.toc

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