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Law, Endowment, and Finance

  • Thorsten Beck
  • Asli Demirguc-Kunt
  • Ross Levine

This paper assesses two theories regarding the historical determinants of international differences in financial development. The law and finance theory holds that legal traditions differ in terms of the priority they attach to protecting the rights of private investors vis-a-vis the State and this has important implications for financial development. The endowment theory argues that the disease and geographical environment influence the formation of long-lasting institutions that influence financial development. Using a sample of former colonies, we explore whether the legal system brought by colonizers and/or the initial disease/geographical endowments encountered by colonizers explain financial development today. The empirical results indicate that both the legal systems brought by colonizers and the initial endowments in the colonies are important determinants of stock market development and private property rights protection. However, initial endowments are more robustly associated with financial intermediary development than legal origin and initial endowments explain more of the cross-country variation in financial intermediary and stock market development than legal origin.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9089.

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Date of creation: Aug 2002
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Publication status: published as Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Law, endowments, and finance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 137-181, November.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9089
Note: IFM LE PE
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  1. 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 1131-50, July.
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  13. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
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  15. Ross Levine & Norman Loayza & Thorsten Beck, 2002. "Financial Intermediation and Growth: Causality and Causes," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Leonardo Hernández & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Se (ed.), Banking, Financial Integration, and International Crises, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 2, pages 031-084 Central Bank of Chile.
  16. Thorsten Beck & Ross Levine, 2002. "Industry Growth and Capital Allocation: Does Having a Market- or Bank-Based System Matter?," NBER Working Papers 8982, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
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  20. Beck, Thorsten & Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman, 2000. "Finance and the sources of growth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 261-300.
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  22. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 1998. "Law, Finance, and Firm Growth," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 2107-2137, December.
  23. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 1999. "A new database on financial development and structure," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2146, The World Bank.
  24. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002. "Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 9106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Jeffrey Wurgler, 1999. "Financial Markets And The Allocation Of Capital," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm123, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Mar 2001.
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  27. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Aggregating governance indicators," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2195, The World Bank.
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