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Review of Law & Economics

Editor-in-Chief: Parisi, Francesco

Ed. by Cooter, Robert D. / Gómez Pomar, Fernando / Kornhauser, Lewis A. / Parchomovsky, Gideon / Engel, Christoph

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Volume 13, Issue 2


Constitutional Judicial Behavior: Exploring the Determinants of the Decisions of the French Constitutional Council

Romain Espinosa
Published Online: 2017-06-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/rle-2015-0034


This article empirically assesses the relevance of three theories of judicial decision-making for the French Constitutional Council. Our empirical analysis follows previous works by integrating more recent observations, and proposes a new methodology by exploiting new data for cases post 1995. After analyzing the 612 cases published between 1974 and 2013, we focus on cases post 1995 for which we know the exact composition of the court. Our results suggest that (1) political/ideological voting occurs, (2) Justices restrain themselves from invalidating laws, and (3) a court’s independence suffers from political power concentration in other institutions. All in all, these results suggest the need for a reform of the Constitutional Council to strengthen its independence.

Keyword: constitutional court; attitudinal model; judicial self-restraint; opportunistic independence; judicial decision-making; politicization; judicial independence

JEL Classification: D71; D72; K40


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-06-09

Citation Information: Review of Law & Economics, Volume 13, Issue 2, 20150034, ISSN (Online) 1555-5879, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/rle-2015-0034.

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