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Shareholder Protection and Stock Market Development: An Empirical Test of the Legal Origins Hypothesis

  • John Armour
  • Simon Deakin
  • Prabirjit Sarkar
  • Mathias Siems
  • Ajit Singh

We test the 'law matters' and 'legal origin' claims using a newly created panel dataset meas-uring legal change over time in a sample of developed and developing countries. Our dataset improves on previous ones by avoiding country-specific variables in favour of functional and generic descriptors, by taking into account a wider range of legal data, and by considering the effects of weighting variables in different ways, thereby ensuring greater consistency of cod-ing. Our analysis shows that legal origin explains part of the pattern of change in the adop-tion of shareholder protection measures over the period from the mid-1990s to the present day: in both developed and developing countries, common law systems were more protective of shareholder interests than civil law ones. We explain this the result on the basis of the head start common law systems had in adjusting to an emerging 'global' standard based mainly on Anglo-American practice. Our analysis also shows, however, that civil law origin was not much of an obstacle to convergence around this model, since civilian systems were catching up with their counterparts in the common law. We then investigate whether there was a link in this period between increased shareholder protection and stock market devel-opment, using a number of measures such as stock market capitalisation, the value of stock-trading and the number of listed firms, after controlling for legal origin, the state of economic development of particular countries, and their position on the World Bank rule of law index. We find no evidence of a long-run impact of legal change on stock market development. This finding is incompatible with the claim that legal origin affects the efficiency of legal rules and ultimately economic development. Possible explanations for our result are that laws have been overly protective of shareholders; transplanted laws have not worked as ex-pected; and, more generally, the exogenous legal origin effect is not as strong as widely sup-posed.

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Paper provided by ESRC Centre for Business Research in its series ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers with number wp358.

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Date of creation: Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp358
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Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.cbr.cam.ac.uk/

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  1. Rajan, Raghuram G. & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "The great reversals: the politics of financial development in the twentieth century," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 5-50, July.
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  7. Sarkar, Prabirjit, 2007. "Stock Market Development and Capital Accumulation: Does Law Matter? A Case Study of India," MPRA Paper 5052, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  9. Erik BERGLÖF & Ernst-Ludwig VON THADDEN, 1999. "The Changing Corporate Governance Paradigm : Implications for Transition and Developing Countries," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9912, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
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  11. Claessens, Stijn & Klapper, Leora F., 2002. "Bankruptcy around the World: Explanations of its Relative Use," CEI Working Paper Series 2002-17, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  12. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1998. "Agency Problems and Dividend Policies Around the World," NBER Working Papers 6594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & López-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2001. "The Regulation of Entry," CEPR Discussion Papers 2953, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Simon Deakin & Priya Lele & Mathias Siems, 2007. "The Evolution of Labour Law: Calibrating and Comparing Regulatory Regimes," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp352, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  16. Priya P. Lele & Mathias M. Siems, 2007. "Shareholder Protection: A Leximetric Approach," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006 170, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  17. Jack Glen & Ajit Singh, 2004. "Corporate Governance, Competition And Finance: Re-Thinking Lessons From The Asian Crisis," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp288, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  18. Andrei Shleifer & Simeon Djankov & Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez de Silanes, 2003. "The New Comparative Economics," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm355, Yale School of Management.
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  20. Sonja Fagernas & Prabirjit Sarkar & Ajit Singh, 2007. "Legal Origin, Shareholder Protection and the Stock Market: New Challenges from Time Series Analysis," WEF Working Papers 0023, ESRC World Economy and Finance Research Programme, Birkbeck, University of London.
  21. Pagano, Marco & Volpin, Paolo, 2005. "Shareholder Protection, Stock Market Development and Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 5378, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. Mathias M. Siems, 2006. "Shareholder Protection Across Countries – Is the EU on the Right Track?," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 4(3), pages 39-43, October.
  23. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Law, endowments, and finance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 137-181, November.
  24. Priya P. Lele & Mathias M. Siems, 2007. "Diversity in Shareholder Protection in Common Law Countries," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 5(1), pages 3-9, 05.
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  36. Jack Glen & Ajit Singh, 2003. "Capital Structure, Rates of Return and Financing Corporate Growth: Comparing Developed and Emerging Markets, 1994-00," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp265, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  37. Davin Chor & Richard B. Freeman, 2005. "The 2004 Global Labor Survey : Workplace Institutions and Practices Around the World," Labor Economics Working Papers 22066, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
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