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

Anti-Corruption MWP Multidisciplinary Research Workshop

Add to calendar 2021-10-11 13:00 2021-10-11 14:30 Europe/Rome The impact of Presidential appointment of judges: Montesquieu or the Federalists? Online via Zoom YYYY-MM-DD


11 October 2021

13:00 - 14:30 Italian time



via Zoom

In the framework of the Anti-Corruption MWP Multidisciplinary Research Workshop, this session presents Sultan Mehmood, The New Economic School, who will give a talk on “The impact of Presidential appointment of judges: Montesquieu or the Federalists?”

The EUI Anti-Corruption MWP Multidisciplinary Research Workshop aims at discussing cutting edge research on the topics of corruption measurement, prevention, displacement, and reduction. Policy-oriented research is a central focus of the workshop. The workshop format includes one hour long remote seminars. Where the research methodology employed offers itself a training opportunity, one hour long practical sessions are also be organised.


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. 

The Zoom link will be shared after registration.


Sultan Mehmood (The New Economic School)

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