Sultan Mehmood

Internal seminars

Sultan Mehmood

Judicial independence and development: Evidence from Pakistan

IBD Salle 16

Îlot Bernard du Bois - Salle 16

5-9 boulevard Maurice Bourdet
13001 Marseille

Thursday, March 26 2020| 12:30pm to 1:45pm

Gaëtan Fournier: gaetan.fournier[at]
Raghul Venkatesh: raghul.venkatesh[at]


This paper provides causal evidence that the institution of Presidential appointment exerts considerable influence on judicial independence, decision quality and development in Pakistan. We find that a change in the selection procedure of judges from Presidential appointment to appointment by judge peers significantly reduces rulings in favour of the government and that this reduction reflects an improvement in the quality of judicial decisions and development outcomes. Using mandatory retirement age as an instrument for new appointments allows us to estimate the causal effect of the reform. We test for and provide evidence against potential threats to identification and alternative explanations to our findings. The analysis of mechanisms reveals that the results are explained by rulings in politically salient cases and by judges who are politically active prior to their appointments.