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Legal Origin, Juridical Form and Industrialisation in Historical Perspective: The Case of the Employment Contract and the Joint-Stock Company

  • Simon Deakin

    (University of Cambridge)

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    The timing and nature of industrialization in Britain and continental Europe had significant consequences for the growth and development of labour market institutions, effects which are still felt today and which are visible in the conceptual structure of labour law and company law in different countries. However, contrary to the claims of the legal origin hypothesis, a liberal model of contract was more influential in the civilian systems of the continent than in the English common law, where the consequences of early industrialization included the lingering influence of master-servant legislation and the weak institutionalization of the juridical form of the contract of employment. Claims for a strong-form legal origin effect, which is time invariant and resistant to pressures for legal convergence, are not borne out by a growing body of historical evidence and time-series data. The idea that legal cultures can influence the long-run path of economic development is worthy of closer empirical investigation but it is premature to use legal origin theory as a basis for policy initiatives.

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    Paper provided by ESRC World Economy and Finance Research Programme, Birkbeck, University of London in its series WEF Working Papers with number 0042.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:wef:wpaper:0042
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    1. 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.
    2. John Armour & Simon Deakin & Prabirjit Sarkar & Mathias Siems & Ajit Singh, 2007. "Shareholder Protection and Stock Market Development: An Empirical Test of the Legal Origins Hypothesis," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp358, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
    3. Mathias Siems & Priya Lele, 2006. "Shareholder Protection: A Leximetric Approach," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp324, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
    4. 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.
    5. Simon Deakin & Prabirjit Sarkar, 2008. "Assessing the Long-Run Economic Impact of Labour Law Systems: A Theoretical Reappraisal and Analysis of New Time Series Data," WEF Working Papers 0043, ESRC World Economy and Finance Research Programme, Birkbeck, University of London.
    6. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Legal Origins," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1193-1229, November.
    7. Rajan, Raghuram G. & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "The great reversals: the politics of financial development in the twentieth century," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 5-50, July.
    8. 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.
    9. Levine, Ross, 1996. "Financial development and economic growth : views and agenda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1678, The World Bank.
    10. Juan Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael LaPorta & Florencio López-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, . "The Regulation of Labor," Working Paper 19483, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    11. Simeon Djankov & Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Law and Economics of Self-Dealing," NBER Working Papers 11883, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Andrei Shleifer & Simeon Djankov & Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez de Silanes, 2003. "The New Comparative Economics," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm355, Yale School of Management.
    13. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Law and Finance," NBER Working Papers 5661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Mathias Siems, 2007. "Shareholder Protection around the World ("Leximetric II")," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp359, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
    15. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2007. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," NBER Working Papers 13608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Simon DEAKIN & Priya LELE & Mathias SIEMS, 2007. "The evolution of labour law: Calibrating and comparing regulatory regimes," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 146(3-4), pages 133-162, 09.
    17. Simeon Djankov & Caralee McLiesh & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "Private Credit in 129 Countries," NBER Working Papers 11078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. 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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