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The Politics and Incentives of Legal Transplantation


  • Frederick Schauer


The last ten years have seen an exponential increase in the volume of legal transplantation, the process by which laws and legal institutions developed in one country are then adopted by another. Although there is a small literature on the process of legal transplantation, most of that literature presumes that the expected efficacy of the law is the predominant factor in determining which laws are transplanted, from where, and to where. This exploratory paper ventures a series of quite different hypotheses, all premised on the view that donor countries, recipient countries, and third parties (such as NGOs) have political, economic, and reputational incentives that are likely to be important factors in determining the patterns of legal transplants. The paper offers a number of hypotheses about these possible efficacy-independent factors, gives examples to support the possibility that the hypotheses might be sound, and suggests ways in which the hypotheses might be tested in a more systematic way.

Suggested Citation

  • Frederick Schauer, 2000. "The Politics and Incentives of Legal Transplantation," CID Working Papers 44, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:cidhav:44

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    Cited by:

    1. Rojo Cagigal, Juan Carlos, 2008. "Choosing a legal framework for Spanish stock markets, 1800-1936," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp08-03, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    2. Thomas, John, 2002. "Institutional Innovation and the Prospects for Transference, Part I: Transferring Singaporean Institutions to Suzhou, China," Working Paper Series rwp02-001, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    3. Erik Voeten, 2010. "Borrowing and Nonborrowing among International Courts," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 547-576.
    4. Bryane Michael, 2005. "The Role of Incentive Design in Parliamentarian Anti-Corruption Programmes," Microeconomics 0511009, EconWPA.
    5. Grajzl Peter & Dimitrova-Grajzl Valentina, 2009. "The Choice in the Lawmaking Process: Legal Transplants vs. Indigenous Law," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 615-660, November.

    More about this item


    legal transplants; legal development; legal change;

    JEL classification:

    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General
    • K3 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law

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