The Common Law and Economic Growth: Hayek Might Be Right

42 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2000

See all articles by Paul G. Mahoney

Paul G. Mahoney

University of Virginia School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2000


Recent finance scholarship finds that countries with legal systems based on the common law provide better investor protections and have more developed financial markets than civil law countries. These findings echo Hayek's claims of the superiority of English to French legal institutions. In this paper, I present evidence that common law countries experienced faster economic growth than civil law countries during the period 1960-1992. I suggest that the difference reflects the common law's greater orientation toward private economic activity and the civil law's greater orientation toward government intervention.

JEL Classification: H11, K10, O17

Suggested Citation

Mahoney, Paul G., The Common Law and Economic Growth: Hayek Might Be Right (January 2000). University of Virginia Law School, Legal Studies Working Paper No. 00-8, Available at SSRN: or

Paul G. Mahoney (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

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

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics