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The Politics of Legal Reform

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  • Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes

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Abstract

As a result of the emerging market crises of the last decade and a large body of academic research on the influence of investor protection in the development of capital markets and economic growth, there is a growing consensus that reforming the legal infrastructure supporting business should be an important component of reforms in many developing countries. But the consensus is unwieldy, as there are still many forces against reform and little agreement about what constitutes feasible legal reforms. This paper has two parts. In the first, we identify the forces for and against legal reform and review the role these forces play in episodes of reform. In the second, we seek to further our understanding of what constitutes good laws and regulatory mechanisms, and more importantly how to make them enforceable in different countries. If legal reform is to succeed, the commonly advocated principles of corporate governance in the international community must be brought down to the local political and judicial realities. Translating international corporate governance initiatives into clear and enforceable rights for creditors and shareholders that incorporate these constraints will be difficult but necessary. Bankruptcy law and corporate law reform need to be politically feasible and enforceable. Legal reforms should be complemented with carefully drafted judicial reforms, as well as market-based mechanisms that foster a culture of corporate governance.

Suggested Citation

  • Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes, 2002. "The Politics of Legal Reform," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 91-152, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000425:008694
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
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    3. Carlin, Wendy & Mayer, Colin, 2003. "Finance, investment, and growth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 191-226, July.
    4. Diamond, Douglas W, 1989. "Reputation Acquisition in Debt Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 828-862, August.
    5. Hart, Oliver & La Porta Drago, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Moore, John, 1997. "A new bankruptcy procedure that uses multiple auctions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 461-473, April.
    6. Douglas W. Diamond, 1991. "Debt Maturity Structure and Liquidity Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 709-737.
    7. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1986. "Large Shareholders and Corporate Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 461-488, June.
    8. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Financial Dependence and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 559-586, June.
    9. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 1998. "Law, Finance, and Firm Growth," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 2107-2137, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Perotti, Enrico C & Volpin, Paolo, 2004. "Lobbying on Entry," CEPR Discussion Papers 4519, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Peter Blair Henry & Peter Lombard Lorentzen, 2003. "Domestic Capital Market Reform and Access to Global Finance: Making Markets Work," NBER Working Papers 10064, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alberto Chong & Florencio de, 2003. "The Truth about Privatization in Latin America," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm436, Yale School of Management.
    4. Peter Blair Henry, 2007. "Capital Account Liberalization: Theory, Evidence, and Speculation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(4), pages 887-935, December.
    5. Mitsopoulos, Michael & Pelagidis, Theodore, 2007. "Does staffing affect the time to dispose cases in Greek courts?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 219-244.
    6. Alvaro Forteza & Daniel Buquet & Mario Ibarburu & Jorge Lanzaro & Andrés Pereyra & Eduardo Siandra & Marcel Vaillant, 2003. "Understanding reform. The Uruguayan case," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0603, Department of Economics - dECON.
    7. Michael Mitsopoulos & Theodore Pelagidis, 2010. "Greek appeals courts’ quality analysis and performance," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 17-39, August.
    8. Eduardo Siandra, 2005. "Uruguay Capital Market: Law-in-the-books or Law-in-action?," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0205, Department of Economics - dECON.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    investor protection; law and reform; regulatory mechanisms; developing countries;

    JEL classification:

    • K20 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - General
    • K35 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Personal Bankruptcy Law
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation

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