Judicial independence in unstable environments, Argentina 1935-1998

Matias Iaryczower, Pablo T. Spiller, Marlano Tommasi

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179 Scopus citations


Argentina's constitution and electoral rules promote a fragmented polity. It is in those environments that independent judiciaries develop. Instead, most analysts ac not consider the Argentina judiciary as independent. In this article we attempt to explain this contradiction by showing that this perception is inappropriate. We develop a test of the hypothesis that the judiciary is independent by empirically examining the political incentives faced by individual justices in their decision making. Our results show an often-defiant Court subject to constraints Our measure of defiance is me probability of a nonaligned justice voting against the government. We find that judicial decision making was strategic. The probability of voting against the government falls the stronger the control of the president over the legislature but increases the less aligned the justice is with the president. Thus, politics and process matter in understanding Argentina's Supreme Court decisions, Institutions matter in Argentina as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-716
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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