The Effects of National and Local Funding on Judicial Performance: Perceptions of Russia's Lawyers
Courts that perform well are the cornerstone of the rule of law and democratic development. When courts are perceived as legalistic, fair, impartial, and independent of the influence of extrajudicial actors, aggrieved individuals are more likely to pursue litigation over other, potentially unlawful, alternatives. Using original data from surveys of more than 1,800 randomly sampled lawyers in 12 Russian cities, we investigate the effects of perceived government funding and power diversification on a variety of indicators of perceived judicial performance. We find that, according to lawyers, financial dependence on the national government has no independent effect on judicial performance, but financial dependence on local governments has consistently significant negative effects. We also find that diversified political power has consistently significant positive effects on perceived judicial performance, probably because the diversification makes courts seem less vulnerable to unified pressure from political actors.
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