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Lawyers and Politicians: The Impact of Organized Legal Professions on Institutional Reforms

Author

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  • Peter Grajzl

    () (Department of Economics, Central European University)

  • Peter Murrell

    () (Department of Economics, University of Maryland)

Abstract

Organized legal professions are typically viewed by economists as rent-seeking interest groups. Starting from the observation that the legal professions have been central in institutional development in countries with the highest quality institutions, we add a different perspective, developing a model that identifies the link between the role of organized professions and the quality of reform. Professional review of interest-group reform proposals solves informational problems when the government's longevity is uncertain. This occurs even though the only direct effect of the organized profession is the one that usually attracts negative commentary, delay caused by deliberation. The profession's expertise makes the delay credible. The model predicts how the role of organized legal professions varies with democracy and political stability, showing that these are substitutes. Professional power and democracy are also substitutes. The predictions cast new light on why 1688 in England and 1789 in France had such different consequences, why the role of legal professions might be weaker in early post-communist transition than in the USSR, why transitions from autocracy are path dependent, why and when civil law and common law systems differ, and why post-independence institutions are of higher quality in settler than in extractive colonies. The paper foreshadows a rigorous analysis of civil society's contribution to economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Grajzl & Peter Murrell, 2004. "Lawyers and Politicians: The Impact of Organized Legal Professions on Institutional Reforms," Electronic Working Papers 04-002, University of Maryland, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:umd:umdeco:04-002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Camille Chaserant & Sophie Harnay, 2013. "The regulation of quality in the market for legal services: Taking the heterogeneity of legal services seriously," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 10(2), pages 267-291, August.
    2. Mario Pagliero & Edward Timmons, 2013. "Occupational Regulation in the European Legal Market," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 10(2), pages 243-265, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Organized professions; legal profession; institutional reform; interest groups; civil society; civil law and common law; colonies; Soviet Union; Louis XIV; Glorious Revolution;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems

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