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Journal of Comparative Law


The reputation of the judiciary, individually or as a whole, determines its status in any given society and its ability to compete effectively for resources. We analyze reputation and make three claims. First, reputation matters. Virtually every theory of judicial power is dependent, ultimately, on perceptions of judges, who famously lack the purse or the sword. Our second claim is that reputation can be divided into individual and collective components. Individual reputation provides information about individual performance whereas collective reputation provides information about the quality of the judiciary in general. We use the economics of team production to analyze the relationship between individual and collective reputation. Third, different legal systems configure institutions in different ways in order to address the problem of information and reputation. This is what we refer to as the industrial organization of the judiciary. The classical understandings of the common law and civil law judiciaries can be seen as sets of linked institutions that are mutually supportive in addressing the problem of information and reputation.

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