No law without a state
AbstractWhat explains cross-country differences in the quality of institutions, such as judicial independence and government regulations of economic life, and in desirable social and economic outcomes, such as a low degree of corruption and high degree of rule of law? In some of the most widely cited publications in the field of economics and political science, scholars have claimed that such cross-country variation is explained by a country’s legal origin (common law or civil law tradition). It is claimed that because of stronger legal protection for outside investors and less state intervention, common law countries have achieved higher levels of economy prosperity and social life than civil law countries. To a large extent, this hypothesis has been corroborated by much empirical evidence. This paper proposes an alternative interpretation of the cross-country differences observed. Building on scholarly studies of state formation developments, the basic proposition of this paper is that the state formation process affects the character of the state infrastructure to be either patrimonial or bureaucratic, which in turn affects institutions and social outcomes. We argue that this fundamental distinction of state formation precedes the legal origins of a country and thus offers superior explanatory power. This argument is tested empirically on a set of 31 OECD countries. It is shown that the state infrastructure is indeed more influential than the legal traditions on a set of institutional variables (formalism, judicial independence, regulation of entry and case law) as well as on a set of social outcomes (corruption, rule of law, and property rights).
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Comparative Economics.
Volume (Year): 40 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864
Legal origins; Civil law; Common law; Institutional quality; Property rights;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
- K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statistics
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wendy Shamier).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.