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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1943
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  1. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521781640 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Working Paper 19443, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  4. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Schleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 2001. "Investor Protection and Corporate Governance," Working Paper Series rwp01-017, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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