A Global Measure of Judicial Independence, 1948–2012




Journal of Law and Courts


We present a new cross-national measure of de facto judicial independence, which is available for 200countries from 1948 to 2012. To do so, we introduce a statistical measurement model for uncoveringlatent concepts commonly encountered in time-series, cross-sectional analyses in comparative politics andinternational relations. Our approach addresses unique challenges that arise in these data: temporaldependence in the observed and unobserved variables, conceptual boundedness in the latent quantity,and substantial missing data and measurement error in the observable indicators. The resulting measuresmatch a common conceptual definition of independence with greater reliability than existing alternatives.The model is extensible to many concepts in comparative politics and international relations.

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