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Shareholder protection and stockmarket development: an empirical test of the legal origins hypothesis

  • Armour, John
  • Deakin, Simon
  • Sarkar, Prabirjit
  • Siems, Mathias
  • Singh, Ajit

We test the ‘law matters’ and ‘legal origin’claims using a newly created panel dataset measuring legal change over time in a sample of developed and developing countries. Our dataset improves on previous ones by avoiding country-specific variables in favour of functional and generic descriptors, by taking into account a wider range of legal data, and by considering the effects of weighting variables in different ways, thereby ensuring greater consistency of coding. Our analysis shows that legal origin explains part of the pattern of change in the adoption of shareholder protection measures over the period from the mid-1990s to the present day: in both developed and developing countries, common law systems were more protective of shareholder interests than civil law ones. We explain this the result on the basis of the head start common law systems had in adjusting to an emerging ‘global’ standard based mainly on Anglo-American practice. Our analysis also shows, however, that civil law origin was not much of an obstacle to convergence around this model, since civilian systems were catching up with their counterparts in the common law. We then investigate whether there was a link in this period between increased shareholder protection and stock market development, using a number of measures such as stock market capitalisation, the value of stocktrading and the number of listed firms, after controlling for legal origin, the state of economic development of particular countries, and their position on the World Bank rule of law index. We find no evidence of a long-run impact of legal change on stock market development. This finding is incompatible with the claim that legal origin affects the efficiency of legal rules and ultimately economic development. Possible explanations for our result are that laws have been overly protective of shareholders; transplanted laws have not worked as ex- pected; and, more generally, the exogenous legal origin effect is not as strong as widely supposed.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 39055.

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Date of creation: Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:39055
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  1. Thorsten Beck & Ross Levine, 2003. "Legal Institutions and Financial Development," NBER Working Papers 10126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Erik BERGLÖF & Ernst-Ludwig VON THADDEN, 1999. "The Changing Corporate Governance Paradigm : Implications for Transition and Developing Countries," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9912, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
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  8. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "Legal Origins," NBER Working Papers 8272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Djankov, Simeon & Glaeser, Edward & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The new comparative economics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 595-619, December.
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  11. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1788, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2003. "The Rise of the Regulatory State," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(2), pages 401-425, June.
  13. Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & Shleifer, Andrei, 2008. "The Law and Economics of Self-dealing," Scholarly Articles 2907526, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Claessens, Stijn & Klapper, Leora F., 2002. "Bankruptcy around the World: Explanations of its Relative Use," CEI Working Paper Series 2002-17, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
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  16. Jack Glen & Ajit Singh, 2005. "Corporate Governance, Competition, and Finance: Re-thinking Lessons from the Asian Crisis," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 219-243, Spring.
  17. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125502 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Simeon Djankov & Caralee McLiesh & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "Private Credit in 129 Countries," NBER Working Papers 11078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Priya P. Lele & Mathias M. Siems, 2007. "Shareholder Protection: A Leximetric Approach," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006 170, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
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  23. Mathias Siems, 2007. "Shareholder Protection around the World ("Leximetric II")," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp359, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  24. 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.
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  27. Sonja Fagernäs & Prabirjit Sarkar & Ajit Singh, 2007. "Legal Origin, Shareholder Protection and the Stock Market: New Challenges from Time Series Analysis," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp343, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  28. Claessens, Stijn & Laeven, Luc, 2002. "Financial Development, Property Rights and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3295, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  29. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirguc-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2004. "Law and Firms' Access to Finance," NBER Working Papers 10687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Singh, Ajit & Singh, Alaka & Weisse, Bruce, 2002. "Corporate Governance, Competetion, The new International Financial Architecture and Large Corporations in Emerging Markets," MPRA Paper 24305, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  32. Priya P. Lele & Mathias M. Siems, 2007. "Diversity in Shareholder Protection in Common Law Countries," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 5(1), pages 3-9, 05.
  33. Raghuram G. Rajan, 2006. "Competitive Rent Preservation, Reform Paralysis, and the Persistence of Underdevelopment," NBER Working Papers 12093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  35. Sarkar, Prabirjit, 2007. "Stock Market Development and Capital Accumulation: Does Law Matter? A Case Study of India," MPRA Paper 5052, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  37. Pagano, Marco & Volpin, Paolo, 2005. "Shareholder Protection, Stock Market Development and Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 5378, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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