No.40 The Impact of Presidential Appointment of Judges: Montesquieu or the Federalists?
A central question in development economics is whether there are adequate checks and balances on the executive. This paper provides causal evidence on how increasing constraints on the executive, through the 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 removal of Presidential discretion in judicial 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. (JEL D02, O17, K11, K40).