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Judicial Reputation

A Comparative Theory

Nuno Garoupa and Tom Ginsburg

Judicial Reputation

Nuno Garoupa and Tom Ginsburg

272 pages | 3 halftones, 3 line drawings, 14 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2015
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226290591 Published November 2015
E-book $10.00 to $36.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226290621 Published November 2015
Judges are society’s elders and experts, our masters and mediators. We depend on them to dispense justice with integrity, deliberation, and efficiency. Yet judges, as Alexander Hamilton famously noted, lack the power of the purse or the sword. They must rely almost entirely on their reputations to secure compliance with their decisions, obtain resources, and maintain their political influence.

In Judicial Reputation, Nuno Garoupa and Tom Ginsburg explain how reputation is not only an essential quality of the judiciary as a whole, but also of individual judges. Perceptions of judicial systems around the world range from widespread admiration to utter contempt, and as judges participate within these institutions some earn respect, while others are scorned. Judicial Reputation explores how judges respond to the reputational incentives provided by the different audiences they interact with—lawyers, politicians, the media, and the public itself—and how institutional structures mediate these interactions. The judicial structure is best understood not through the lens of legal culture or tradition, but through the economics of information and reputation. Transcending those conventional lenses, Garoupa and Ginsburg employ their long-standing research on the latter to examine the fascinating effects that governmental interactions, multicourt systems, extrajudicial work, and the international rule-of-law movement have had on the reputations of judges in this era.

1 A Theory of Judicial Reputation and Audiences
2 Pockets of Exception
3 Wearing Two Hats: Judges and Nonjudicial Functions
4 The Selection and Monitoring of Judges: The Spread of Judicial Councils
5 When Courts Collide: Intracourt Relations and the Problem of Audiences
6 The Rule of Lawyers: Globalization, International Law, and Judicial Reputation
7 Conclusion: The Shift toward the External Audience and Lessons for Reform

Appendix A: List of Courts Included in the Dataset
Appendix B: Data on Judicial Councils

Review Quotes
J. Mark Ramseyer, Harvard Law School
Judicial Reputation offers an excellent application of state-of-the-art theory to the organization of the courts. With clean writing and a clear structure, the highly regarded Garoupa and Ginsburg have written a wonderful book which makes serious, much-needed advances in the empirical study of courts, in comparative law, in constitutional law, and in comparative politics.”
Erin F. Delaney, Northwestern Law School
Judicial Reputation is the culmination of a remarkable research agenda by two of the foremost scholars of the world’s judicial systems. The authors have produced a model of comparative scholarship, integrating methodologies in a productive and persuasive way by employing both quantitative and qualitative empirics. From the fine-grained details of appointment processes to sweeping questions of international judicial networks, Garoupa and Ginsburg make one thing very clear: reputation matters. Shifting away from the conventional approaches that privilege legal tradition and path dependency, the authors embrace a functionalist analysis of reputation to explain judicial development. By disaggregating collective and individual reputation and the roles of internal and external audiences, they present a persuasive theory of institutional change that better accounts for the pockets of exception in individual systems and the areas of convergence across systems. In the course of their argument, the authors also challenge the ideal of global best practices in judicial reform—a welcome reminder that such practices are often contingent and must be tailored to specific contexts.  Judicial Reputation will be an essential resource for students in political science and law, but it should also be required reading for any scholar, judge, or politician interested in judicial reform.”
Gilles Cuniberti, University of Luxembourg
“Garoupa and Ginsburg offer the first comprehensive theory of judicial reputation, showing how collective or individual reputations of judges can have a variety of impacts on both the functioning of courts and legal systems in general. Their decisive analysis draws on experiences from Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Judicial Reputation is a book of huge significance—not only, as its title suggests, for comparative legal theory, but also because of the vast potential applications of Garoupa and Ginsburg’s research. The chapter on the international reputation of judges, for example, unveils a fascinating dimension of globalization and paves the way for further research on forum shopping and international judicial competition.”
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