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Eric Bennett Rasmusen & J. Mark Ramseyer, When are Judges and Bureaucrats Left Independent? Theory and History from Imperial Japan, Postwar Japan, and the United States (Ctr. for Int'l Res. on Japanese Econ., Working Paper No. F-126, Aug. 2001).

Abstract: Various theories, notably those of McCubbins & Schwartz and Landes & Posner, say why judicial independence might be desired by voters and politicians. Why, however, are judges independent in some elected regimes but not others? We develop an "alternating-parties" explanation based on the theory of repeated games and use it to explain the differences between Japan in the 1920's, Japan 1950-1990, and federal judges in the United States. We also discuss why other elite bureaucrats are treated differently from judges.