Legal Origins, Civil Procedure, and the Quality of Contract Enforcement
Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, Vol. 166, No. 1, pp. 149-165, 2010
40 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2009 Last revised: 15 Feb 2010
Date Written: February 12, 2010
This paper empirically compares civil procedure in common law and civil law countries. Using World-Bank and hand-collected data, and unlike earlier studies that used predecessor data sets, this paper finds no systematic differences between common and civil law countries in the complexity, formalism, duration, or cost of procedure in courts of first instance. The paper further finds that by a subjective measure, contract enforceability in common law countries is higher than in French, but lower than in German and Scandinavian, civil law countries. Given civil procedure's central role for the common/civil law distinction, these findings challenge the distinction's economic relevance.
Keywords: Legal origins, civil procedure, courts, comparative law, comparative institutions, formalism index
JEL Classification: K40, K41, P51
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