Studying Judicial Activism: A Review of the Quantitative Literature

Svandís Nína Jónsdóttir


This article reviews the quantitative literature on judicial review and judicial activism, focusing on the conceptualization and the operationalization of the concept. Judicial activism has primarily been debated and discussed in an abstract, normative form, with no clear meaning attached to it. This has posed problems in quantitative analyses and comparative research, where clear, unambiguous concepts are necessary. This paper argues that traditional judicial scholarship that favors behavioralistic (e.g. individual level variables) accounts of the individual, constitutional judge are giving way to studies that have a larger legal and institutional connotation to it.

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