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Legal institution building and economic development in China


  • Weigang Li
  • Jixiang Chen
  • Dongying Wu


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of legal institution building during the process of China's economic miracle of past three decades. Design/methodology/approach - To engage with the issue, the paper builds on historical research and comparable approaches which explore the interactions of legal institution building and economic reforms in China. Findings - Legal institution building is not only a passive factor that can make up market failures in developing countries. Studies on China case find that legal institution building in China has often been taken as a tool to realize the ruling party's political commitment of economic development. Research limitations/implications - The paper takes only one country – China as the case to explore the interactions of legal institution building and economic development. Owing to most China's peculiar characteristics, more cases should be studied in order to examine a much clearer result, which might shed lights on the current reforms of a lot of developing countries. Practical implications - The argument of the paper, that legal institution building can be employed as an active tool to drive economic development if designed properly, broadens policy pools for developing countries that are in a strive to fight against poverty reduction. Originality/value - The paper opens a new arena to re-examine the role of legal building for economic development in developing countries. Also, it develops a unique perspective to explore the myth of China's economic miracle.

Suggested Citation

  • Weigang Li & Jixiang Chen & Dongying Wu, 2010. "Legal institution building and economic development in China," International Journal of Development Issues, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 9(1), pages 43-52, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijdipp:v:9:y:2010:i:1:p:43-52

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrei Shleifer & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Rafael La Porta, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 285-332, June.
    2. Guvenli, Turgut & Sanyal, Rajib, 2003. "Perception and management of legal issues in China by US firms," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 161-181, May.
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