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Finance and Politics: A Review Essay Based on Kenneth Dam's Analysis of Legal Traditions in The Law-Growth Nexus

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  • Mark J. Roe
  • Jordan I. Siegel

Abstract

Strong financial markets are widely thought to propel economic development, with many in finance seeing legal tradition as fundamental to protecting investors sufficiently for finance to flourish. Kenneth Dam finds that the legal tradition view inaccurately portrays how legal systems work, how laws developed historically, and how government power is allocated in the various legal traditions. Yet, after probing the legal origins' literature for inaccuracies, Dam does not deeply develop an alternative hypothesis to explain the world's differences in financial development. Nor does he challenge the origins core data, which could be origins' trump card. Hence, his analysis will not convince many economists, despite that his legal learning suggests conceptual and factual difficulties for the legal origins explanations. Yet, a dense political economy explanation is already out there and the origins-based data has unexplored weaknesses consistent with Dam's contentions. Knowing if the origins view is truly fundamental, flawed, or secondary is vital for financial development policy making because policymakers who believe it will pick policies that imitate what they think to be the core institutions of the preferred legal tradition. But if they have mistaken views, as Dam indicates they might, as to what the legal traditions' institutions really are and which types of laws are effective, or what is really most important to financial development, they will make policy mistakes -- potentially serious ones.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark J. Roe & Jordan I. Siegel, 2009. "Finance and Politics: A Review Essay Based on Kenneth Dam's Analysis of Legal Traditions in The Law-Growth Nexus," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(3), pages 781-800, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:47:y:2009:i:3:p:781-800
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.47.3.781
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Oto-Peralías & Diego Romero-Ávila, 2014. "The Distribution of Legal Traditions around the World: A Contribution to the Legal-Origins Theory," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(3), pages 561-628.
    2. Cosset, Jean-Claude & Martineau, Charles & Samet, Anis, 2014. "Do political institutions affect the choice of the U.S. cross-listing venue?," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 22-48.
    3. Mr. Robert Tchaidze & Mr. Amat Adarov, 2011. "Development of Financial Markets in Central Europe: the Case of the CE4 Countries," IMF Working Papers 2011/101, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Minkler, Lanse & Prakash, Nishith, 2017. "The role of constitutions on poverty: A cross-national investigation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 563-581.
    5. Naomi R. Lamoreaux, 2014. "Revisiting American Exceptionalism: Democracy and the Regulation of Corporate Governance in Nineteenth-Century Pennsylvania," NBER Working Papers 20231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Hans Degryse & Thomas Lambert & Armin Schwienbacher, 2018. "The Political Economy of Financial Systems: Evidence from Suffrage Reforms in the Last Two Centuries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(611), pages 1433-1475, June.
    7. Haque, Faizul & Arun, Thankom & Kirkpatrick, Colin, 2011. "The political economy of corporate governance in developing economies: The case of Bangladesh," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 169-182, June.
    8. Naomi R. Lamoreaux, 2014. "Revisiting American Exceptionalism: Democracy and the Regulation of Corporate Governance: The Case of Nineteenth-Century Pennsylvania in Comparative Context," NBER Chapters, in: Enterprising America: Businesses, Banks, and Credit Markets in Historical Perspective, pages 25-71, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Simplice Asongu, 2014. "Law, Finance and Investment: Does Legal Origin Matter in Africa?," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 41(2), pages 145-175, June.
    10. Gerhard Schnyder & Mathias Siems & Ruth Aguilera & Centre for Business Research, 2018. "Twenty Years of 'Law & Finance': Time to Take Law Seriously," Working Papers wp501, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    11. Claessens, Stijn & Yurtoglu, B. Burcin, 2013. "Corporate governance in emerging markets: A survey," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 1-33.
    12. Geller, Gabriel & Guedes, Maria João Coelho, 2017. "Was the collapse of the communist bloc a game changer in the stock markets? Left-wing vs. right-wing political preferences and stock market development," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(PA), pages 423-432.
    13. Jean-Claude Cosset & Charles Martineau & Anis Samet, 2012. "Do Political Institutions Affect the Choice of the U.S. Cross-Listing Venue?," Cahiers de recherche 1210, CIRPEE.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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