Confidence in Judicial Institutions: an Empirical Approach

Bruno Deffains (University of Paris II Pantheon Assas)
Ludivine Roussey (University of Paris West Nanterre La Defense)

Abstract: We look at the role of the justice budget when individuals have bounded rationality regarding the judiciary and consequently need to refer to stimuli to decipher the legal environment. We first examine how and why the justice budget may affect people's perception of the judiciary and, by extension, influence economic decision-making in this context. We then test this proposition using a cross-section of European countries. We use data from the World Value Survey measuring trust in justice as proxies for perception of the judiciary and several budget-related variables extracted from databases produced by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice. We show that increasing public resources devoted to the judiciary is positively associated with higher levels of trust in justice. We also show that the justice budget is likely to have a greater impact on trust in relatively less economically and institutionally developed countries. Finally, our paper yields some implications for public policy since we show that the budgetary determinants of factors of trust in justice are not the same for all prior levels of confidence in the judiciary or stages of institutional and economic development of countries.

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