Article

On the Wrong Side of the Law - Causes and Consequences of a Corrupt Judiciary

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Abstract

Empirical research on the determinants of corruption has made substantial progress over the last decade. To date, the consequences of different structures of the legal enforcement institutions have, however, only played a marginal role. This contribution deals with both the determinants of corruption in the judiciary and the consequences of judicial organization for corruption at large. Regarding the latter, it is shown that the actual independence of the judiciary as well as that of prosecution agencies is correlated with lower levels of corruption. This is also true for a third indicator that measures the degree to which judges are held accountable for their decisions (“judicial accountability”). Furthermore, independence and accountability function as complements in preventing corruption – judicial accountability without independence appears to be ineffective, whereas judicial or prosecutorial independence alone can even have adverse effects.

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... As far as we are aware, no other analysis has addressed this issue. One partial exception is Voigt and Gutmann (2015), although they examine the consequences of judicial organization on corruption in general. ...
... Moreover, taking past X into account allows a better prediction of present Y. A similar approach is used by Voigt and Gutmann (2015). In econometric terms, we should test whether the estimate of 2 is significant and positive, using the following regression: ...
... The outcome also depends on whether the prosecutors themselves are corruptionprone or corruption-averse: i.e. the degree of their integrity. Voigt and Gutmann (2015) conducted an analysis of the role of integrity using accountability as proxy. This is captured by the obligation for judges to extensively justify their decisions, the obligation to publish judgments, extended proof and dissenting opinions. ...
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Using a sample of 56 countries (28 rich and 28 poor), observed over the period 2004–2013, our paper develops an analysis of the contagion of corruption at the inter-institutional level. More precisely, it examines whether corruption in the justice system is an important factor to explain the expansion of corruption in politics. We find a clear unidirectional causal effect of corruption in the justice system on corruption in parliament. Low corrupt justice induces low corrupt politics. The results are robust to various checks. It appears that reducing corruption in justice alone causes a direct reduction of corruption in politics. Since fighting corruption is very costly, the result highlights the additional benefit of devoting greater resources to curbing judicial corruption.
... A definição de corrupção mais aceita pela literatura é o abuso de poder público para ganhos privados (Voigt & Gutmann 2015;Jong-sung & Khagram 2005). A literatura aponta diversos determinantes econômicos, políticos e socioculturais para as atividades corruptas. ...
... O PIB per capita (log) apresentou o maior coeficiente, positivo e significativo, sugerindo que países mais ricos tendem a ser menos corruptos (Voigt & Gutmann 2015;Paldam 2002). Especificamente, a cada ponto adicional do PIB per capita (log) tem-se um aumento de aproximadamente 11,29% na ausência de corrupção. ...
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Introdução: Quanto maior a capacidade estatal, menor a corrupção? O presente trabalho testa a hipótese de que a capacidade estatal diminui os níveis de corrupção na América Latina no período entre os anos de 1996 e 2015. Materiais e Métodos: Para um teste de robustez, o nível de ausência da corrupção foi medido através de dois índices diferentes, o índice CPI da ONG Transparência Internacional e o índice CCI do Banco Mundial. A capacidade estatal foi medida através da arrecadação de impostos como porcentagem do PIB; a capacidade coercitiva do Estado foi medida através das despesas militares como porcentagem do PIB; a capacidade administrativa foi medida através do índice de qualidade burocrática do ICRG. Para os testes de hipóteses foram estimados dois painéis de dados PCSE, um com o CPI como variável dependente e outro com o CCI como variável dependente. Resultados: Os resultados sugerem que a principal hipótese foi confirmada: a capacidade estatal aumenta os níveis de ausência de corrupção, mesmo após o teste de robustez para as duas medidas de ausência de corrupção e com controles para possíveis determinantes políticas e socioeconômicas da corrupção sugeridas pela literatura. Entretanto, a medida de capacidade administrativa só obteve significância com o índice CCI como variável dependente. Discussão: Esta pesquisa irá contribuir para a literatura ao analisar um novo determinante da corrupção, a capacidade estatal, mostrando que esta deve ser incluída nos estudos que pretendem analisar suas causas.
... For a conceptualization of judicial accountability as more or less the inverse of corruption, see Gutmann and Voigt in press. Also seeVoigt and Gutmann (2015) on judicial corruption.5 Relatedly,Bjørnskov and Justesen (2014) uncover, for an African sample, that the poor are obliged to pay bribes to officials to a larger extent than others, which is compatible with corruption benefitting the poor more than others. ...
Article
We ask whether, as many seem to think, corruption worsens, and judicial accountability improves, inequality, and investigate this empirically using data from 145 countries 1960–2014. We relate perceived corruption and de facto judicial accountability to gross-income inequality and consumption inequality. The study shows that corruption is negatively, and that judicial accountability is positively, related to both types of inequality. The estimates are particularly pronounced in democracies and arguably causal in the case of consumption inequality, which we show using a novel identification method indicating that the full effect only occurs after institutional stability has been established. The findings suggest that “unfair procedures” – corruption and deviations from judicial accountability – may benefit the economically worst off and worsen the situation of the economic elite.
... Of course, the prosecutor must be in in position and have the necessary competencies to combat crime without the risk of interference from the executive branch of the government. This condition, however, is highly associated with government legitimacy (and political willingness to secure integrity), and is not sufficient to explain why two countries with similar institutions enforce their laws against corruption very differently [14]. ...
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How can we explain why countries that apply similar remedies against corruption vary so much in their actual incidence of corruption? While high penalties for business crime may prevent corruption in some situations, it may exacerbate the problem in others. We find enforcement of laws against corruption to depend on the form of cooperation between layers of law enforcement authority in the state administration. Small local differences in honesty and cooperation may lead to large differences in effective law enforcement and in actual levels of corruption.
... Second, the monitoring and enforcement mechanisms used to control corruption are susceptible to political influence. Voigt and Gutmann (2015) find that independence in the judiciary and in prosecutorial decisions is key to having a non-corrupt judiciary. Unfortunately, true independence regarding corruption cases seems to be lacking in the U.S., making convictions a potentially inaccurate measure of corruption. ...
Article
In the US, federal prosecutors are appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate, and have significant discretion over which cases they choose to take to court. Federal prosecutors handling an overwhelming majority of corruption cases invites the possibility of political influence in the monitoring of corruption. Additionally, political disparities across states may result in differences in corrupt behavior. Using individual case level data, I examine the effect political influence has on federal corruption cases, with a particular emphasis on states that are an important focus in the next presidential election. I find that corruption convictions tend to be higher in politically important states. This effect seems more significant in Democratic administrations. In addition, it seems that federal prosecutors are most biased when it comes to corruption crimes labeled as “federal.”
... Halim (2008), for example, investigates corruption in national bureaucracies, whereas Scott and Pyman (2008) compare levels of corruption in the military across different regions and countries. Voigt and Gutmann (2015) relate the organization of the judiciary to both judicial corruption and public-sector corruption more generally. Finally, Gutmann (2015) shows how the intensity of competition between religions and the degree to which they are regulated in different markets determine the corruption level in religious organizations. ...
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Research on corruption has made substantial progress in recent years. Yet, most studies still treat corruption as a homogenous phenomenon. This article argues that private-sector corruption can be distinguished conceptually from public-sector corruption, which has been in the spotlight of empirical research. We introduce the first indicator of private-sector corruption covering a large cross-section of countries. This new indicator is used to extend a recent empirical study on the cultural determinants of public-sector corruption (Kong and Volkema in Soc Indic Res 127(1):139–152, 2016). We find that self-serving leadership in high-income countries is associated with more corruption in both the public and the private sector. Furthermore, individualistic leadership in low-income countries is linked to reduced private-sector corruption. Next, we test a number of alternative cultural explanations for differences in private-sector corruption across countries. Overall, our results suggest that specific forms of corporate leadership culture matter for private-sector corruption, but also religious identity and trust play an important role.
... Second, the monitoring and enforcement mechanisms used to control corruption are susceptible to political influence. Voigt and Gutmann (2015) find that independence in the judiciary and in prosecutorial decisions is key to having a non-corrupt judiciary. Unfortunately, true independence regarding corruption cases seems to be lacking in the U.S., making convictions a potentially inaccurate measure of corruption. ...
Article
Full-text available
In the US, federal prosecutors are appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate, and have significant discretion over which cases they choose to take to court. Federal prosecutors handling an overwhelming majority of corruption cases invites the possibility of political influence in the monitoring of corruption. Additionally, political disparities across states may result in differences in corrupt behavior. Using individual case level data, I examine the effect political factors have on federal corruption cases, with an emphasis on states that are an important focus in the next presidential election. I find that corruption convictions tend to be higher in politically important states. This effect seems more significant when Democratic administrations are in power. In addition, it seems that these effects are relevant only for corruption crimes labeled as “federal”.
... Of course, the prosecutor must be in in position and have the necessary competencies to combat crime without the risk of interference from the executive branch of the government. This condition, however, is highly associated with government legitimacy (and political willingness to secure integrity), and is not sufficient to explain why two countries with similar institutions enforce their laws against corruption very differently [14]. In sum, the correlations presented above indicate that corruption is distributed like other economic crimes – more prevalent in poorer countries than in richer ones. ...
... Voigt (2008) shows that GDP per capita is positively related with both de facto judicial independence and accountability. Voigt and Gutmann (2015) show additional positive effects of accountability: systems where judicial decisions are published and require a higher level of legal justification on the part of judges are associated with lower levels of corruption both in the judiciary and in the public sector as a whole. These findings suggest that, in real world systems, independence and accountability can be intrinsically consistent and understood as virtuous and socially valued goals of the institutions that regulate judicial systems. ...
Article
Two findings stand out in the literature on public attitudes vis-à-vis courts. The first is that judicial independence increases public trust. The second is that ‘to know courts is to love them’. In this study, these stylised facts are used as a starting point to ask three questions. First, is there also a role for judicial accountability in fostering public trust, above and beyond that played by independence? Second, could it be that only the most aware citizens are sensitive to such properties of the judicial system? Third, is the notion that ‘to know courts is to love them’ limited to systems with high levels of judicial independence and accountability? Using recently available macro-level indicators of judicial independence and accountability and the high-quality survey data collected by the European Social Survey in 32 countries throughout more than a decade, this study provides evidence that the answers to these questions are positive.
... Members of organised criminal groups might attempt to influence judges via existing social, political, professional, and familial networks. Where members of organised criminal groups have entrée into elite social networks, such interconnections can be formed and the risks of corruption increase (e.g., Nagle, 2010;Rose-Ackerman, 2007;Voigt & Gutmann, 2015). ...
... Members of organised criminal groups might attempt to influence judges via existing social, political, professional, and familial networks. Where members of organised criminal groups have entrée into elite social networks, such interconnections can be formed and the risks of corruption increase (e.g., Nagle, 2010;Rose-Ackerman, 2007;Voigt & Gutmann, 2015). ...
... Members of organised criminal groups might attempt to influence judges via existing social, political, professional, and familial networks. Where members of organised criminal groups have entrée into elite social networks, such interconnections can be formed and the risks of corruption increase (e.g., Nagle, 2010;Rose-Ackerman, 2007;Voigt & Gutmann, 2015). ...
... Members of organised criminal groups might attempt to influence judges via existing social, political, professional, and familial networks. Where members of organised criminal groups have entrée into elite social networks, such interconnections can be formed and the risks of corruption increase (e.g., Nagle, 2010;Rose-Ackerman, 2007;Voigt & Gutmann, 2015). ...
... Members of organised criminal groups might attempt to influence judges via existing social, political, professional, and familial networks. Where members of organised criminal groups have entrée into elite social networks, such interconnections can be formed and the risks of corruption increase (e.g., Nagle, 2010;Rose-Ackerman, 2007;Voigt & Gutmann, 2015). ...
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The sixteenth sustainability goal is about equality in access to justice. However, according to some events in Eastern Europe, access is insufficient. The court must be genuinely independent and impartial. In this regard, we decided to find arguments in favour of expanding the sixteenth sustainability goal. A review of the sources and a theoretical study indicated a clear link between judicial independence and sustainable development. We used the method of doctrinal research. ECtHR cases have become our data for qualitative analysis. We have reaffirmed that judicial independence is the condition of the rule of law. It means conduction of proceedings without any pressure or interference on a judge, particularly from other branches of government. We argue that the entire independence of the judiciary appears on the background of the subjective and objective independence of the judge. In addition, this study demonstrates that judicial independence is a condition for sustainable development. It is associated with public trust and public confidence in the reality of such independence. In the example of equality of parties, we pointed out that there is no need to detail the sixteenth goal further. With our study, we wish to breathe new energy into the sixteenth goal of sustainable development
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Purpose The purpose of this qualitative case study is to diagnostically explore the phenomenon of judicial corruption in Nigeria, its causative factors, and generate strategies such as sonic therapeutic intervention, among others, that would facilitate an amelioration of the situation. The judiciary which is supposed to be last hope of justice for the Nigerian citizenry has been proven beyond reasonable doubt to have been infected with the virus of corruption and therefore an urgent call for action to rectify the situation is imperative. Design/methodology/approach The study uses a qualitative approach rooted in case study tradition. Findings The findings showed that power and testosterone, cheating proclivity, family pressure, qualitative passion and ignorance, low self-control, inordinate kleptocratic desire, unrestrained mind and sensory modalities, phenomenological mindset, and identity crisis as endogenous contributive factors of judicial corruption in Nigeria. Research limitations/implications The limitation of the study stemmed from the fact that inasmuch as a perception of corruption and corruption are cultural phenomena, the study results cannot be generalizable. Practical implications The practical implication of the research is rooted in the fact that the Nigerian judiciary can gain from the study results and recommendation(s) if implemented without fear or favour for the overall renewal of the judiciary and the nation at large. Originality/value Inquiry on judicial corruption through the lens of qualitative research with Nigeria as a case study is highly understudied and hence this research fills the gap in the financial crime literature
Chapter
In the case of problems related to regulation, political competition, or decentralization, citizens can appeal to justice when the rules are not respected or if application of the rules harms their own interests. However, access to and the functioning of justice are not immune to corruption. Three main issues emerge concerning corruption in justice: access to justice, functioning of the judicial system, and punishment of corrupt acts. Access to justice concerns not only the cost for citizens to have their rights upheld but also the human and financial resources (often limited in poor countries) that the state should devote to this task. Suggested solutions to the access problem include the use, when possible, of alternative means of conflict resolution. A well-functioning judicial system requires staff, such as judges, prosecutors, and clerks, to be both independent and accountable.
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Учебникот по антикорупциско право е првиот универзитетски учебник за студенти по право кои се заинтересирани да посетуваат таква настава на Правниот факултет во Скопје. Тоа е сеопфатна алатка за учење, која ќе овозможи на студентите по право да се стекнат со знаење и вештини поврзани со правните и институционалните аспекти на антикорупцијата. Учебникот се осврнува на концептот и типологијата на корупцијата; концептот, предметот и изворите на антикорупциското право; антикорупциската институционална рамка и, потребата од реформа на антикорупцискиот систем во Република Северна Македонија, вклучувајќи практични примери, статистички анализи и компаративни искуства.
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Judicial independence is not only a necessary condition for the impartiality of judges, it can also endanger it: judges that are independent could have incentives to remain uninformed, become lazy or even corrupt. It is therefore often argued that judicial independence and judicial accountability are competing ends. In this paper, it is hypothesized that they can be complementary means towards achieving impartiality and, in turn, the rule of law. It is further argued that judicial accountability can increase per capita income through various channels one of which is the reduction of corruption. First tests concerning the economic effects of JA are carried out and on the basis of 75 countries, these proxies are highly significant for explaining differences in per capita income drawing both on OLS as well as TSLS.
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The economic analysis of corrupt practices has already generated significant theoretical contributions to the literature. But the empirical literature has failed to capture or objectively test the main causes of systemic corruption within the court systems. For example, recent survey-based studies of corrupt practices based on just subjective perceptions of governance factors provide a good example of these limitations.For public policy design purposes, a scientific approach to the study of public sector corruption must be empirically verifiable through objective and subjective indicators if we are to develop reliable anticorruption prescriptions. This Article presents empirical results that fill in the lacunae left by the previous studies. The Article proposes the use of six objective explanatory variables to capture the effects on corrupt practices. This dependent variable is measured in terms of the compatible subjective probabilities of corrupt practices captured through the use of surveys of lawyers, judges, and litigants. The paper later proposes an empirical model that incorporates substantive-procedural, market-related, and organizational explanatory variables tested within the judicial sectors of Argentina, Ecuador, and Venezuela.
Article
Rational politicians are interested in judicial independence (JI) in order to make their promises credible. However, politicians whose preferences deviate from the dicta of the judiciary have incentives to renege on judicial independence. In this paper, we measure these two conflicting aspects of judicial independence using two indicators: (i) de iure JI, which focuses on legal foundations, and (ii) a de facto JI, which focuses on countries' actual experiences. We test whether JI affects economic growth for a cross section of 57 countries. We find that real GDP growth per capita is not affected by de iure JI but is positively related to de facto JI.
Article
I. Introduction Since the turn of the century, legislation in Western countries has expanded rapidly to reverse the brief dominance of laissez faire during the nineteenth century. The state no longer merely protects against violations of person and property through murder, rape, or burglary but also restricts "dis­ crimination" against certain minorities, collusive business arrangements, "jaywalking," travel, the materials used in construction, and thousands of other activities. The activities restricted not only are numerous but also range widely, affecting persons in very different pursuits and of diverse social backgrounds, education levels, ages, races, etc. Moreover, the likeli­ hood that an offender will be discovered and convicted and the nature and extent of punishments differ greatly from person to person and activity to activity. Yet, in spite of such diversity, some common properties are shared by practically all legislation, and these properties form the subject matter of this essay. In the first place, obedience to law is not taken for granted, and public and private resources are generally spent in order both to prevent offenses and to apprehend offenders. In the second place, conviction is not generally considered sufficient punishment in itself; additional and sometimes severe punishments are meted out to those convicted. What determines the amount and type of resources and punishments used to enforce a piece of legislation? In particular, why does enforcement differ so greatly among different kinds of legislation?
Article
Corruption in the public sector erodes tax compliance and leads to higher tax evasion. Moreover, corrupt public officials abuse their public power to extort bribes from the private agents. In both types of interaction with the public sector, the private agents are bound to face uncertainty with respect to their disposable incomes. To analyse effects of this uncertainty, a stochastic dynamic growth model with the public sector is examined. It is shown that deterministic excessive red tape and corruption deteriorate the growth potential through income redistribution and public sector inefficiencies. Most importantly, it is demonstrated that the increase in corruption via higher uncertainty exerts adverse effects on capital accumulation, thus leading to lower growth rates.
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Turkey: Erdogan Under New Pressure to Quit as Protesters Take to the Streets
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