Law, Finance, and Politics: The Case of India

56 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2008 Last revised: 10 Dec 2018

See all articles by John Armour

John Armour

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Priya Lele

Ashurst LLP; University of Cambridge - Centre for Business Research (CBR)

Date Written: April 1, 2008


The process of liberalization of India's economy since 1991 has brought with it considerable development both of its financial markets and the legal institutions which support these. An influential body of recent economic work asserts that a country's 'legal origin' - as a civilian or common law jurisdiction - plays an important part in determining the development of its investor protection regulations, and consequently its financial development. An alternative theory claims that the determinants of investor protection are political, rather than legal. We use the case of India to test these theories. We find little support for the idea that India's legal heritage as a common law country has been influential in speeding the path of regulatory reforms and financial development. There is a complementarity between (i) India's relative success in services and software, (ii) the relative strength of its financial markets for outside equity, as opposed to outside debt, and (iii) the relative success of stock market regulation, as opposed to reforms of creditor rights. We conclude that political explanations have more traction in explaining the case of India than do theories based on 'legal origins'.

Keywords: India, Law and Finance, Investor Protection, Economic structure and financial structure

JEL Classification: G28, G38, K22, K40, O16, P37

Suggested Citation

Armour, John and Lele, Priya P., Law, Finance, and Politics: The Case of India (April 1, 2008). Law and Society Review, 2009, European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) - Law Working Paper No. 107/2008, Available at SSRN: or

John Armour (Contact Author)

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Priya P. Lele

Ashurst LLP ( email )

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University of Cambridge - Centre for Business Research (CBR) ( email )

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