Courting Corruption: Judicial Politicization in Argentina in Comparative Perspective

Princeton University

Abstract

Throughout the Americas, prominent politicians often find themselves before the courts over corruption charges. The prosecution of corruption is central to political accountability – voters can only hold politicians accountable if the process of judging politicians’ past actions is fair and produces information that voters trust. Partisan capture of the judiciary results instead in corruption probes that are manipulated to serve electoral interests. Despite the importance of the judicial oversight of corruption, we know little about what guides the behavior of the politicians and judicial actors who intervene in these processes. We aim to understand why, when, and with what consequences corruption becomes judicialized; the extent to which the law becomes weaponized by rival political factions; and the role played by the media in publicizing these judicial battles. Empirically, we focus on Argentina – a country that has seen a large number of corruption probes enter the federal court in the past decade – where we plan to leverage a combination of natural experiments based on institutional features of the federal judiciary, original datasets on the court’s docket using newly available data, and a novel measure of judges’ political alignment.

Research Team

Principal Investigators

Guadalupe Tuñón

Assistant Professor, Princeton University

  • Bio ▾

    Guadalupe Tuñón is an Assistant Professor in Princeton's Department of Politics and School of Public and International Affairs. She studies comparative politics and political economy with a regional focus on Latin America. She received her PhD in Political Science from UC Berkeley in 2019 and was an Academy Scholar at Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Germán Feierherd

Assistant Professor, Universidad de San Andrés

  • Bio ▾

    Germán is an assistant professor at Universidad de San Andrés (UdeSA), in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He conducts theoretical and empirical research on political development, with an emphasis on elections, political parties, corruption, judicial politics, and the politics of economic adjustment. His research has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, and the British Journal of Political Science, among others. German received his PhD, with departmental and university distinction, from Yale University in 2016.

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