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Legal-political factors and the historical evolution of the finance-growth link

  • BORDO, MICHAEL D.
  • ROUSSEAU, PETER L.

Recent cross-country investigations of the role of institutional fundamentals such as the protection of property rights in promoting financial development have extended a literature that has for decades maintained that financial factors can affect real outcomes. In this paper we pursue this new direction by considering relationships between finance, growth, legal origin, and political environment in a historical cross-section of 17 countries covering the period from 1880 to 1997. We find that relationships between a county's legal origin (i.e., English, French, German, or Scandinavian) and financial development are roughly consistent with earlier findings but are not persistent. At the same time, political variables such as proportional representation election systems, frequent elections, universal female suffrage, and infrequent revolutions or coups seem linked to larger financial sectors and higher conditional rates of economic growth. Despite the explanatory power of some of our measures of the deeper "fundamentals," however, a significant part of the growth-enhancing role of financial development remains unexplained by them.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal European Review of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 10 (2006)
Issue (Month): 03 (December)
Pages: 421-444

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Handle: RePEc:cup:ereveh:v:10:y:2006:i:03:p:421-444_00
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  1. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1788, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  3. Robert J. Barro, 1989. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 3120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Thorsten Beck & Ross Levine, 2003. "Legal Institutions and Financial Development," NBER Working Papers 10126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Clive Bell & Peter L. Rousseau, 2000. "Post-Independence India: A Case of Finance-Led Industrialization?," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0019, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  6. Gylfason, Thorvaldur & Herbertsson, Tryggvi Thor, 2001. "Does inflation matter for growth?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 405-428, December.
  7. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2002. "Law and finance : why does legal origin matter?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2904, The World Bank.
  8. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Law and Finance," Working Paper 19451, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  9. Alberto Alesina & Sule Ozler & Nouriel Roubini & Phillip Swagel, 1992. "Political Instability and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 4173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Enrico Perotti & Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden, 2005. "The Political Economy of Corporate Control," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-102/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  11. Ross Levine & Norman Loayza & Thorsten Beck, 2002. "Financial Intermediation and Growth: Causality and Causes," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Leonardo Hernández & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Se (ed.), Banking, Financial Integration, and International Crises, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 2, pages 031-084 Central Bank of Chile.
  12. Marco Pagano & Paolo Volpin, 1999. "The Political Economy of Corporate Governance," CSEF Working Papers 29, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 01 Jul 2005.
  13. Rousseau, Peter L., 1999. "Finance, investment, and growth in Meiji-era Japan," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 185-198, April.
  14. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
  15. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance and growth : Schumpeter might be right," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1083, The World Bank.
  16. Peter L. Rousseau, 2002. "Historical Perspectives on Financial Development and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 9333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Boyd, John H. & Levine, Ross & Smith, Bruce D., 2001. "The impact of inflation on financial sector performance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 221-248, April.
  18. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1994. "Sources of economic growth," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-46, June.
  19. Naomi R. Lamoreaux & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2004. "Legal Regime and Business's Organizational Choice: A Comparison of France and the United States," NBER Working Papers 10288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Michael Bruno & William Easterly, 1995. "Inflation Crises and Long-Run Growth," NBER Working Papers 5209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Rousseau, Peter L & Wachtel, Paul, 1998. "Financial Intermediation and Economic Performance: Historical Evidence from Five Industrialized Countries," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(4), pages 657-78, November.
  22. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Sylla, Richard, 2002. "Financial Systems And Economic Modernization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(02), pages 277-292, June.
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