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The Speed of Justice

Florence Kondylis and Mattea Stein

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Abstract: Can changing the rules of the game affect government performance? We study the impact of a simple procedural reform on efficiency and quality of adjudication in Senegal. The reform gave judges the duty and powers to conclude pre-trial proceedings within a four-month deadline. We combine a staggered rollout across the six civil and commercial chambers of the court of Dakar and three years of high-frequency caseload data to construct an event study. We find a reduction in procedural formalism, as the length of the pre-trial stage decreases by 42.9 days (0.29 SD) and the number of case-level pre-trial hearings is reduced, while judges are more likely to impose deadlines. The effect is similar for small and large cases, while fast and slow judges are equally likely to apply the reform. The evidence suggests that these efficiency gains have no adverse impact on quality, while we document positive firm-level effects.

Keywords: Legal procedure; Civil law; Bureaucracy; Economic development; Firms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law
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Working Paper: The Speed of Justice (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: The Speed of Justice (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: The speed of justice (2018) Downloads
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