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The Transition from Relational to Legal Contract Enforcement

  • Fali Huang

    (SMU)

This paper studies the transition of contract enforcement institutions. The prevalence of relational contracts, low legal quality, strong cultural preference for personalistic relationships, low social mobility, and highly unequal endowment form a cluster of mutually reinforcing institutions that hinder economic development. The cultural element per se does not necessarily reduce social welfare though it may slow down the legal development, while the real problem lies in endowment inequality and low social mobility. Thus a more equal distribution of resources may be the ultimate key to unravel the above interlocking institutions. These results are generally consistent with the empirical evidence.

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File URL: http://www.eaber.org/node/22441
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Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Development Economics Working Papers with number 22441.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
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Handle: RePEc:eab:develo:22441
Contact details of provider: Postal: JG Crawford Building #13, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, Australian National University, ACT 0200
Web page: http://www.eaber.org

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  1. Avinash Dixit, 2003. "Trade Expansion and Contract Enforcement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1293-1317, December.
  2. Marcel Fafchamps, 2003. "Spontaneous Market Emergence," Economics Series Working Papers 138, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Avner Greif, 2002. "Institutions and Impersonal Exchange: From Communal to Individual Responsibility," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 158(1), pages 168-, March.
  4. Simon Johnson & John McMillan, 2002. "Courts and Relational Contracts," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 221-277, April.
  5. Joel Sobel, 2006. "For Better or Forever: Formal versus Informal Enforcement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 271-298, April.
  6. McMillan, John & Woodruff, Christopher, 1998. "Inter-Firm Relationships and Informal Credit in Vietnam," CEPR Discussion Papers 2036, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Juan Botero, 2003. "The Regulation of Labor," NBER Working Papers 9756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  9. John Shuhe Li, 2003. "Relation-based versus Rule-based Governance: an Explanation of the East Asian Miracle and Asian Crisis," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 651-673, 09.
  10. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
  11. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2003. "Institutional and Non-Institutional Explanations of Economic Differences," NBER Working Papers 9989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. R. Hirschowitz, 1989. "The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 57(4), pages 266-272, December.
  13. Greif, Avner, 2000. "The fundamental problem of exchange: A research agenda in Historical Institutional Analysis," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(03), pages 251-284, December.
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