Courts: The Lex Mundi Project
New Economic School (NES)
Rafael La Porta
Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Florencio Lopez de Silanes
EDHEC Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 118, No. 2, May 2003
In cooperation with Lex Mundi member law firms in 109 countries, we measure and describe the exact procedures used by litigants and courts to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent and to collect a bounced check. We use these data to construct an index of procedural formalism of dispute resolution for each country. We find that such formalism is systematically greater in civil than in common law countries. Moreover, procedural formalism is associated with higher expected duration of judicial proceedings, more corruption, less consistency, less honesty, less fairness in judicial decisions, and inferior access to justice. These results suggest that legal transplantation may have led to an inefficiently high level of procedural formalism, particularly in developing countries.
Keywords: Enforcement of contracts, courts, judicial efficiency
JEL Classification: K40, P50
Date posted: October 18, 2003
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