Testing Legal Origins Theory within France: Customary Laws versus Roman Code

43 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2013 Last revised: 24 Mar 2017

David Le Bris

Toulouse Business School

Date Written: March 1, 2017

Abstract

Before 1804, France was strictly divided in terms of legal regimes: a part was under Roman civil law while the majority of the territory was under customary laws which, as with common law, gave more flexibility to judges and fewer rights to the state. This dichotomy offers the unique opportunity to test legal origins theory free from cross-country heterogeneity. Fiscal and census data from 1801-1821 show the absence of any negative impact of the civil law either on the whole of France or when focusing on counties bordering the legal frontier. The same is true for the population density observed in 1793 at the parish level in Auvergne, a province in which the two regimes were entangled. Civil law even appears to have a positive effect in many specifications.

Keywords: Law and Finance, Legal origins, Financial development, France

JEL Classification: O43, O1, P48, N43

Suggested Citation

Le Bris, David, Testing Legal Origins Theory within France: Customary Laws versus Roman Code (March 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2359261 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2359261

David Le Bris (Contact Author)

Toulouse Business School ( email )

20, bd Lascrosses
Toulouse, 31068
France

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