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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. Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman & Beck, Thorsten, 2000. "Financial intermediation and growth: Causality and causes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 31-77, August.
  2. Beck, Thorsten & Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman, 1999. "Finance and the sources of growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2057, The World Bank.
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  9. 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.
  10. Ross Levine, 1997. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: Views and Agenda," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 688-726, June.
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  13. Rene M. Stulz & Rohan Williamson, 2001. "Culture, Openness, and Finance," NBER Working Papers 8222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. 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.
  17. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Detragiache, Enrica, 2002. "Does deposit insurance increase banking system stability? An empirical investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1373-1406, October.
  18. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "Legal Origins," NBER Working Papers 8272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2002. "Law and finance : why does legal origin matter?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2904, The World Bank.
  20. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 1998. "Law, Finance, and Firm Growth," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 2107-2137, December.
  21. Mahoney, Paul G, 2001. "The Common Law and Economic Growth: Hayek Might Be Right," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 503-25, Part I Ju.
  22. 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.
  23. Ross Levine & Sara Zervos, . "Stock markets, banks and economic growth ," CERF Discussion Paper Series 95-11, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
  24. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  25. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 6849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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