Public Session: Transformations of Democracy Seminar Series


Benjamin Engst - University of Konstanz

"Citizens’ Commitment to Judicial Independence: A Discrete Choice Experiment in Nine European Countries"


In contrast to the more common focus on judicial independence in relation to
government institutions, we study under what conditions citizens are willing to trade
democratic principles in favor of expected partisan gains? To disentangle this trade-off,
we administered discrete choice experiments in surveys across nine European countries
to elicit citizens’ reactions to nondemocratic reform proposals of the judiciary. The
findings suggest that respondents in all countries show some credible commitment to
judicial independence. They support this democratic principle first and are partisans
only second. The cross-national comparison widens the scope beyond the typically
studied US Supreme Court and shows that in polarized societies – which more often
suffer from democratic backsliding – reforms to limit judicial independence are less
sharply rejected. This has major implications not only for the literature on comparative
judicial politics and democratic stability but also for our understanding of citizens’
reactions to democratic backsliding.

Registration Deadline 24 Feb, 9 am (CET)

The booking period for this event is over.

When does the event happen?
Add to Calendar