The Role of the Judiciary in the Public Decision-Making Process


Corresponding author: Marco M. Sorge, BGSE, University of Bonn, Lennéstr. 43, 53113 Bonn, Germany. E-mail:


Empirical work on the relationship between political corruption and the design of public institutions suggests that the structure of judiciaries is an important determinant of corruption. This study develops a simple political economic model to investigate the role of judicial oversight in the policy-making process for corruption deterrence, focusing on two dimensions of quality of the judiciary, namely efficiency and integrity. Our analysis explicitly accounts for the possibility that, while being independent of the political authority, the judiciary itself may be vulnerable to pressure from special interests. We study endogenous policy-making under complete information and provide general conditions for the existence of deterrence (zero-bribe) equilibria. In particular we show that preserving the independence of judiciaries in corrupt societies proves crucial to the existence of corruption-deterrence effects.