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Legal-Political Factors and the Historical Evolution of the Finance-Growth Link

Listed author(s):
  • Michael D. Bordo
  • Peter L. Rousseau

Recent cross-country investigations of the role of institutional fundamentals such as the protection of property rights in promoting financial development have extended a literature that has for decades maintained that financial factors can affect real outcomes. In this paper we pursue this new direction by considering relationships between finance, growth, legal origin, and political environment in a historical cross-section of 17 countries covering the period from 1880 to 1997. We find that relationships between a county's legal origin (i.e., English, French, German, or Scandinavian) and financial development are roughly consistent with earlier findings but are not persistent. At the same time, political variables such as proportional representation election systems, frequent elections, universal female suffrage, and infrequent revolutions or coups seem linked to larger financial sectors and higher conditional rates of economic growth. Despite the explanatory power of some of our measures of the deeper "fundamentals," however, a significant part of the growth-enhancing role of financial development remains unexplained by them.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12035.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12035.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
Publication status: published as Bordo, Michael D. and Peter L. Rousseau. "Legal-Political Factors and the Historical Evolution of the Finance-Growth Link." European Review of Economic History 10, 3 (December 2006): 421 - 444.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12035
Note: DAE EFG LE
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  1. Peter L. Rousseau, 2003. "Historical perspectives on financial development and economic growth," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 81-106.
  2. Gylfason, Thorvaldur & Herbertsson, Tryggvi Thor, 2001. "Does inflation matter for growth?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 405-428, December.
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  5. La Porta, Rafael & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. " Legal Determinants of External Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1131-1150, July.
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  7. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
  8. Rousseau, Peter L., 1999. "Finance, investment, and growth in Meiji-era Japan," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 185-198, April.
  9. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Law and finance: why does legal origin matter?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 653-675, December.
  10. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1994. "Sources of economic growth," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-46, June.
  11. Sylla, Richard, 2002. "Financial Systems And Economic Modernization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(02), pages 277-292, June.
  12. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
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  16. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
  17. Rousseau, Peter L. & Wachtel, Paul, 2002. "Inflation thresholds and the finance-growth nexus," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 777-793, November.
  18. Rousseau, Peter L & Wachtel, Paul, 1998. "Financial Intermediation and Economic Performance: Historical Evidence from Five Industrialized Countries," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(4), pages 657-678, November.
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  21. repec:hrv:faseco:30728041 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Bruno, Michael & Easterly, William, 1998. "Inflation crises and long-run growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 3-26, February.
  23. Alesina, Alberto & Özler, Sule & Roubini, Nouriel & Swagel, Phillip, 1996. "Political Instability and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 189-211, June.
  24. Enrico Perotti & Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden, 2005. "The Political Economy of Corporate Control," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-102/2, Tinbergen Institute.
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