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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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  10. 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.
  11. 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.
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  14. Rene M. Stulz & Rohan Williamson, 2001. "Culture, Openness, and Finance," NBER Working Papers 8222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 1998. "Law, Finance, and Firm Growth," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 2107-2137, December.
  16. 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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  18. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1856, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  19. Thorsten Beck & Ross Levine & Norman Loayza, 1999. "Financial Intermediation and Growth: Causality and Causes," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 56, Central Bank of Chile.
  20. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  21. 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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  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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