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Law and social capital: Evidence from the Code Napoleon in Germany

Listed author(s):
  • Buggle, Johannes C.

I test whether legal institutions crowd-in social cooperation in the long-run, using the introduction of the Code Napoleon in parts of 19th century Germany as a historical experiment. I find that the application of the Code Napoleon is associated with higher levels of trust and cooperation today. This finding is robust to an identification strategy that uses only individuals located around a discontinuity in the number of years the Code Civil was used. Results from a falsification test that moves this discontinuity artificially, as well as the comparison of pre-treatment characteristics support the interpretation of a causal effect. In addition, regions around the discontinuity are similar in post-treatment economic development and inequality. On the contrary, the positive social consequences of the Code Civil manifest themselves in less political fraud in elections from 1871 to 1900, and in more “bridging” social capital in the 1920s.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292116300873
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 87 (2016)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 148-175

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:87:y:2016:i:c:p:148-175
DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2016.05.003
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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