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Documenting Legal Dissonance: Legal Pluralism in Papua New Guinea

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  • Larcom Shaun

    ()

  • Swanson Timothy

    () (The Graduate Institute – Geneva, Case Postale 136, 1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland)

Abstract

We examine the problem suggested by the troubled history of legal transplants, the instance of legal pluralism in which an existing territory has a new legal system overlaid on the previously existing customary system. We provide a very simple model for considering the interaction between legal regimes that exist contemporaneously within a single jurisdiction. We demonstrate that, even when the fundamental relationship between such regimes is as substitutes for one another, the existence of negative externalities between enforcement technologies can result in the withdrawal of enforcement efforts. We term this phenomenon legal dissonance – the situation in which legal regimes interact negatively in their production technologies. This model is then applied to the post-colonial state of Papua New Guinea where we use survey data to identify significant negative production externalities in the enforcement of informal law. We suggest that disorder may be the outcome of too much law.

Suggested Citation

  • Larcom Shaun & Swanson Timothy, 2015. "Documenting Legal Dissonance: Legal Pluralism in Papua New Guinea," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 25-50, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:rlecon:v:11:y:2015:i:1:p:25-50:n:1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pedro Naso & Erwin Bulte & Tim Swanson, 2017. "Can there be benefits from competing legal regimes? The impact of legal pluralism in post-conflict Sierra Leone," CIES Research Paper series 56-2017, Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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