An evaluation of cross-national measures of judicial independence

  • Ríos-Figueroa J
  • Staton J
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Abstract

We provide a conceptual map of judicial independence and evaluate the content, construct, and convergent validity of 13 cross-national measures. There is evidence suggesting the validity of extant de facto measures, though their proper use requires attention to correlated patterns of measurement error and missing data. The evidence for the validity of extant de jure measures is weaker. Among other findings, we do not observe a strong and direct link between the rules that allegedly promote judicial independence and independent behavior. The results suggest that while the measurement of both de jure and de facto judicial independence requires a careful strategy for measuring latent concepts, the way that scholars should address this issue depends on whether they are targeting the incentives for independent behavior induced by formal rules or independent behavior itself.

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