When Does Legal Origin Matter?
A vast literature documents better economic institutions in common law compared with civil law countries. The present paper argues that legal origin alone is insufficient to explain differences in the quality of economic institutions across countries. Rather, it is the interaction between legal origin and the quality of political institutions that is important. Empirical evidence from a cross-section of 90 countries on entry regulation, a measure of how business friendly economic institutions are towards firms, strongly supports our claim. For example, we find that the number of procedures required to start a business are lower in common law compared with civil law countries by 2.5 procedures or 24.3% of the sample mean. However, this difference varies sharply across the sample of countries with high and low levels of political accountability. It equals a large 3.4 procedures (37% of the sample mean) for the former and a mere 1.1 procedures (9.7% of the sample mean) for the latter. We conclude that legal origin matters for the quality of economic institutions but only when political accountability is high. We provide a plausible explanation for this phenomenon based on recent findings in the literature on political economy.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Irvine, CA 92697-3125|
Phone: (949) 824-5788
Web page: http://www.economics.uci.edu/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2006.
"Persistence of Power, Elites and Institutions,"
NBER Working Papers
12108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Stasavage, 2000. "Private Investment and Political Uncertainty," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 25, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
- Gabriela Inchauste & Mark Gradstein & Era Dabla-Norris, 2005.
"What Causes Firms to Hide Output? the Determinants of Informality,"
IMF Working Papers
05/160, International Monetary Fund.
- Dabla-Norris, Era & Gradstein, Mark & Inchauste, Gabriela, 2008. "What causes firms to hide output? The determinants of informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 1-27, February.
- repec:reg:rpubli:274 is not listed on IDEAS
- Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
- Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirguc-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2002.
"Law and Finance: why Does Legal Origin Matter?,"
NBER Working Papers
9379, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221.
- Clarke, George R.G. & Cull, Robert & Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad, 2006. "Foreign bank participation and access to credit across firms in developing countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 774-795, December.
- Besley, Timothy J. & Prat, Andrea, 2002.
"Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
3132, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2006. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 720-736, June.
- Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2005. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 07, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
- Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2007.
"The Evolution of Common Law,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 43-68.
- Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 2005. "Financial and Legal Constraints to Growth: Does Firm Size Matter?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 137-177, 02.
- Casey B. Mulligan & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Population and Regulation," NBER Working Papers 10234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
- David Stasavage, 2002. "Private Investment and Political Institutions," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 41-63.
- George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:irv:wpaper:080912. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jennifer dos Santos)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.