Using the Law to Change the Custom
43 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2010
Date Written: June 8, 2010
We build a simple model of legal dualism in which a pro-poor legal reform, under certain conditions, causes the conflicting custom to go some way toward producing the change intended by the legislator. It then acts as an "outside anchor" that exerts a "magnet effect" on the custom. We illustrate this insight using examples on inheritance, marriage, and divorce issues in Sub-Saharan Africa and India. We also characterize the conditions under which a moderate pro-poor reform is more effective than a radical reform.
Keywords: Custom, Statutory Law, Inequality, Legal Reform
JEL Classification: K40, O17, D74
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation