Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Legal Origin or Colonial History?

28 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2011 Last revised: 17 Dec 2014

Daniel M. Klerman

USC Gould School of Law

Paul G. Mahoney

University of Virginia School of Law

Holger Spamann

Harvard Law School

Mark Weinstein

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business - Finance and Business Economics Department; University of Southern California - Gould School of Law

Date Written: August 2, 2011

Abstract

Economists have documented pervasive correlations between legal origins, modern regulation, and economic outcomes around the world. Where legal origin is exogenous, however, it is almost perfectly correlated with another set of potentially relevant background variables: the colonial policies of the European powers that spread the “origin” legal systems through the world. We attempt to disentangle these factors by exploiting the imperfect overlap of colonizer and legal origin, and looking at possible channels, such as the structure of the legal system, through which these factors might influence contemporary economic outcomes. We find strong evidence in favor of non-legal colonial explanations for economic growth. For other dependent variables, the results are mixed.

Keywords: legal origin, colonial origin, colonial history, economic growth, civil law, common law

JEL Classification: K40, N40, P50, O19, O40

Suggested Citation

Klerman, Daniel M. and Mahoney, Paul G. and Spamann, Holger and Weinstein, Mark, Legal Origin or Colonial History? (August 2, 2011). 3 Journal of Legal Analysis 379-409 (2011); USC CLEO Research Paper No. C11-9; USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 11-16; Virginia Law and Economics Research Paper No. 2011-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1903994

Daniel Klerman (Contact Author)

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-7973 (Phone)
213-740-5502 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://weblaw.usc.edu/contact/contactInfo.cfm?detailID=227

Paul Mahoney

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-924-7121 (Phone)
434-924-7536 (Fax)

Holger Spamann

Harvard Law School ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Mark Weinstein

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business - Finance and Business Economics Department ( email )

Marshall School of Business
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-6499 (Phone)
213-740-6650 (Fax)

University of Southern California - Gould School of Law

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
540
Rank
42,100
Abstract Views
2,491