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The Transition from Relational to Legal Contract Enforcement

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  • Fali Huang

    ()
    (School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University)

Abstract

This paper studies the transition of contract enforcement institutions. The preva- lence of relational contracts, low legal quality, strong cultural preference for personalistic relationships, low social mobility, and highly unequal endowment form a cluster of mutually reinforcing institutions that hinder economic development. The cultural element per se does not necessarily reduce social welfare though it may slow down the legal development, while the real problem lies in endowment inequality and low social mobility. Thus a more equal distribution of resources may be the ultimate key to unravel the above interlocking institutions. These results are generally consistent with the empirical evidence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Singapore Management University, School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 23-2006.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in SMU Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series
Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:23-2006

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Keywords: relational contract; legal contract enforcement; institutions; endowment inequality; economic development;

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References

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  1. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2003. "Institutional and Non-Institutional Explanations of Economic Differences," NBER Working Papers 9989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Juan Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael Porta & Florencio C. Lopez-De-Silanes, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382, November.
  3. John Shuhe Li, 2003. "Relation-based versus Rule-based Governance: an Explanation of the East Asian Miracle and Asian Crisis," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 651-673, 09.
  4. McMillan, John & Woodruff, Christopher, 1998. "Inter-Firm Relationships and Informal Credit in Vietnam," CEPR Discussion Papers 2036, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Greif, Avner, 2000. "The fundamental problem of exchange: A research agenda in Historical Institutional Analysis," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(03), pages 251-284, December.
  6. Avner Greif, 2002. "Institutions and Impersonal Exchange: From Communal to Individual Responsibility," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 158(1), pages 168-, March.
  7. Simon Johnson & John McMillan, 2002. "Courts and Relational Contracts," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 221-277, April.
  8. Fafchamps Marcel, 2002. "Spontaneous Market Emergence," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-37, June.
  9. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  10. R. Hirschowitz, 1989. "The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 57(4), pages 266-272, December.
  11. Joel Sobel, 2006. "For Better or Forever: Formal versus Informal Enforcement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 271-298, April.
  12. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
  13. Avinash Dixit, 2003. "Trade Expansion and Contract Enforcement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1293-1317, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Joshua Charap & Jelena Pavlovic, 2009. "Development of the Commercial Banking System in Afghanistan," IMF Working Papers 09/150, International Monetary Fund.

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