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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. 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.
    2. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125511 is not listed on IDEAS
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    4. Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2008. "The law and economics of self-dealing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 430-465, June.
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    7. 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.
    8. Mathias Siems, 2007. "Shareholder Protection around the World ("Leximetric II")," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp359, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
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    15. 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.
    16. Sonja Fagernas & Prabirjit Sarkar & Ajit Singh, 2007. "Legal Origin, Shareholder Protection and the Stock Market: New Challenges from Time Series Analysis," WEF Working Papers 0023, ESRC World Economy and Finance Research Programme, Birkbeck, University of London.
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