Testing Legal Origins Theory within France: Customary Laws versus Roman Code
David Le Bris
Toulouse Business School
Before 1804, France was strictly divided according to the legal regime: southern part under Roman civil law and North under customary laws which, as with common law, gave more flexibility to judges and fewer rights to the state. This dichotomy offers the unique opportunity to test the legal origins theory free from cross-country heterogeneity. Using fiscal and census data from 1801-1821, Departments under civil law for six centuries do exhibit lower financial and economic outcomes but this difference is not robust when controlling for fundamental factors. Civil law appears even to have a positive effect in many specifications.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40
Keywords: Law and Finance, Economic development, France
JEL Classification: O43, O1, P48, N43
Date posted: November 25, 2013 ; Last revised: November 13, 2015
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