Varieties of Legal Systems: Towards a New Global Taxonomy

Journal of Institutional Economics, Forthcoming

30 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2015

See all articles by Mathias Siems

Mathias Siems

European University Institute (EUI); Durham University

Date Written: December 14, 2015

Abstract

Legal scholars, economists and other social scientist often refer to the idea that countries can be classified into a number of ‘legal families’ or ‘legal origins’. Yet, this research is unsatisfactory as regards the actual classifications of the legal systems of the world. It is the aim of this paper to fill this gap and to develop a more robust taxonomy of legal systems. This taxonomy is based on a new dataset of 156 countries that is subsequently analysed with tools of network analysis. Applying cluster optimisation, this paper finds that the world’s legal systems can be divided into four clusters. It displays those clusters in a map, akin to the Inglehart-Welzel cultural map. It is suggested that those findings have important implications, not only for our understanding of the legal world, but also for the feasibility of legal transplants and harmonisation.

Keywords: legal families, legal origins, law and finance, network analysis, comparative law

JEL Classification: B52, D85, K00, K40, N20, O57, P37

Suggested Citation

Siems, Mathias, Varieties of Legal Systems: Towards a New Global Taxonomy (December 14, 2015). Journal of Institutional Economics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2703292

Mathias Siems (Contact Author)

European University Institute (EUI) ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
50-139 Firenze
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.eui.eu/DepartmentsAndCentres/Law/People/Professors/Siems

Durham University ( email )

Stockton Road
Durham, County Durham DH1 3LE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.dur.ac.uk/mathias.siems

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