The Common Law and Economic Growth: Hayek Might Be Right
Recent finance scholarship finds that countries with legal systems based on the common law have more developed financial markets than civil-law countries. The present paper argues that finance is not the sole, or principal, channel through which legal origin affects growth. Instead, following Hayek, I focus on the common law's association with limited government. I present evidence that common-law countries experienced faster economic growth than civil-law countries during the period 1960-92 and then present instrumental variables results that suggest that the common law produces faster growth through greater security of property and contract rights. Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.
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