Endogenous Institutions: Law as a Coordinating Device
USC Law School and Department of Economics
Barry R. Weingast
Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace
November 1, 2011
USC CLEO Research Paper No. C11-20
USC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-28
Scholars widely agree that long-term economic growth requires a legal system providing for rule of law, contract enforcement and impersonal exchange. In this paper, we address a piece of this broad issue by studying the question, what is law? Drawing on other work (Hadfield & Weingast 2011), we argue that law has developed its distinctive structure, at least in part, to coordinate beliefs among diverse individuals and thus improve the efficacy of decentralized rule enforcement systems. In this paper we apply the framework of this coordination account of law to the emergence of medieval contract law and to constitutional law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 51
Keywords: legal theory, institutions, law and development, constitutional law, law merchant, coordination gamesAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 24, 2011 ; Last revised: December 8, 2011
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