After describing the closely related concepts of judicial independence and independent judicial review of policy, this entry offers an overview of four issues: (1) Reasons for establishing an independent judiciary, including its ability to resolve problems of information asymmetry between citizens – principals and public officials – agents, transform constitutional declarations to credible commitments and provide a mechanism of political insurance; (2) mechanisms for appointing judges and the jurisdiction of courts; (3) modeling the role of the judiciary as an additional veto player in games of collective decision-making and policy implementation; and (4) the judiciary as an explanatory variable and its effect on economic variables of interest like economic growth and the size of the government.
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