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Reforming the Speed of Justice: Evidence from an Event Study in Senegal; JSDE Seminar
WhenMonday, May 15, 2017, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Campus locationSavery Hall (SAV)
Campus roomSavery 410
Event typesLectures/Seminars

Can changing the rules of the game affect judges’ performance? We study the effect of a simple procedural reform on the celerity of civil and commercial adjudication in Senegal. The reform gave judges the duty and administrative power to meet a clear deadline. We combine the staggered rollout across the six civil and commercial chambers of the court of Dakar and high-frequency caseload data to construct an event study. We find a large reduction in the length of the pre-trial stage of 35-46 days (0.24-0.32 SD). The effect is similar for small and large cases, and is attributable to an increase in the decisiveness of each hearing: the number of case-level pre-trial hearings is reduced, as judges are more likely to set hard deadlines. These gains in speed do not come at the cost of quality, while we document positive firm-level welfare impacts.

Speaker: Florence Kondylis of the World Bank

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