Endogenous Legal Traditions

48 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2009 Last revised: 26 Feb 2016

See all articles by Carmine Guerriero

Carmine Guerriero

Department of Economics, University of Bologna

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 9, 2016


A key feature of a legal system is the set of institutions used to aggregate the citizens' preferences over the harshness of punishment, i.e., the legal tradition. While under common law appellate judges' biases offset one another at the cost of volatility of the law, under civil law the legislator chooses a certain legal rule that is biased only when he favors special interests, i.e., when preferences are sufficiently heterogeneous and/or the political process is sufficiently inefficient. Hence, common law can be selected only under this last scenario. This prediction is consistent with a novel dataset on the lawmaking and adjudication institutions in place at independence and in 2000 in 155 transplants, many of which reformed the transplanted legal tradition.

Keywords: legal origins, culture, political institutions, economic development

JEL Classification: K40, Z1, H11, 010, P16

Suggested Citation

Guerriero, Carmine, Endogenous Legal Traditions (February 9, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1443344 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1443344

Carmine Guerriero (Contact Author)

Department of Economics, University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, 40126

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