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The Guarantees of Freedom

  • Rafael La Porta
  • Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes
  • Cristian Pop-Eleches
  • Andrei Shleifer

Hayek (1960) distinguishes the institutions of English freedom, which guarantee the independence of judges from political interference in the administration of justice, from those of American freedom, which allow judges to restrain law-making powers of the sovereign through constitutional review. We create a data base of constitutional rules in 71 countries that reflect these institutions of English and American freedom, and ask whether these rules predict economic and political freedom in a cross-section of countries. We find that the English institutions of judicial independence are strong predictors of economic freedom and weaker predictors of political freedom. The American institutions of checks and balances are strong predictors of political but not of economic freedom. Judicial independence explains half of the positive effect of common law legal origin on measures of economic freedom.

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Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1943.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1943
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  1. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, . "Investor Protection and Corporate Governance," Working Paper 19455, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  2. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521781640 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods And Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284, November.
  4. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1788, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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