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Who Benefits from Customary Justice? Rent-seeking, Bribery and Criminality in sub-Saharan Africa

Olivia D'Aoust and Olivier Sterck

Journal of African Economies, 2016, vol. 25, issue 3, 439-467

Abstract: In many African countries, customary and statutory judicial systems co-exist. Customary justice is exercised by local courts and based on restorative principles, while statutory justice is mostly retributive and administered by magistrates' courts. As their jurisdiction often overlaps, victims can choose which judicial system to refer to, which may lead to contradictions between rules and inconsistencies in judgements. In this article, we construct a model representing a dual judicial system and we show that this overlap encourages rent-seeking and bribery and yields to high rates of petty crimes and civil disputes. We illustrate our predictions with examples from Uganda.

Date: 2016
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Working Paper: Who Benefits from Customary Justice? Rent-seeking, Bribery and Criminality in Sub-Saharan Africa (2012) Downloads
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