A central question in development economics is whether there are adequate checks and balances on the executive. This paper provides causal evidence of how increasing constraints on the executive—via removal of presidential discretion in judicial appointments—promotes the rule of law. 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 termination of presidential discretion in judicial appointments. Overall, the results indicate that presidential appointment of judges deteriorates the rule of law. Even one degree of separation between the judiciary and the president matters.
"The Impact of Presidential Appointment of Judges: Montesquieu or the Federalists?"
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior: General
Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements