Melcarne A. (2017).
Careerism and judicial behavior. European Journal of Law and Economics, 2017, vol. 44, issue 2, No 4, 264 pages.
Although often criticized by part of legal scholarship, the idea of judicial behavior being influenced by judges’ egoistic goals simply needs the appropriate institutional setting in order to be validated. In the present paper, the hypothesis of careerism affecting judges’ conduct is investigated with regard to the case of the Italian Constitutional Court, where judges only serve for a limited and non-renewable term of 9 years. This institutional framework allows to reasonably assume on a theoretical level the existence of career concerns among them. In order to maximize the chances of future appointments, judges try to earn as much reputation as possible among relevant audiences. Empirical evidence supports the theory that career concerns push judges to react to incentives that alter the reputational returns of their conduct. This result holds independently of judges’ personal characteristics that might influence their professional concerns.