Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, Department Chair, Political Science, University of Rochester

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1997
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Political Science, University of Chicago
The Politics of Judicial Independence in Argentina, 1980-Present

Why have independent judicial institutions been difficult to create and sustain in new democracies? While many studies of courts in new democracies focus on culture as the cause of weak judiciaries, I argue that a full explanation requires a more dynamic approach. My preliminary research in Argentina reveals variations in levels of judicial independence over time and across issues, as well as variations in the relative power of political parties; hence Argentina is an excellent case for developing and testing alternative hypotheses about judicial independence. Building on research done on courts in the U.S. and elsewhere, the proposed research seeks to develop the hypothesis that a growing level of asymmetry between the two main parties in Argentina has contributed to the failure to achieve an independent judiciary. To test this and other hypotheses, this research will generate two databases covering decisions handed down by the Argentine courts since 1980. This data will be contextualized by interviews, analyses of judicial reform proposals, and information on court appointments and removals. The results of my study on Argentina will be applicable to other counties that suffer similar problems of weak judicial institutions.