Law and Finance: Why Does Legal Origin Matter?

47 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2002 Last revised: 31 Oct 2010

See all articles by Thorsten Beck

Thorsten Beck

City University London - Sir John Cass Business School; Tilburg University - European Banking Center, CentER

Asli Demirgüç-Kunt

World Bank - Development Research Group; World Bank

Ross Levine

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2002

Abstract

New research suggests that cross-country differences in legal origin help explain differences in financial development. This paper empirically assesses two theories of why legal origin influences financial development. First, the political' channel stresses that (i) legal traditions differ in the priority they give to the rights of individual investors vis-...-vis the state and (ii) this has repercussions for the development of property rights and financial markets. Second, the adaptability' channel holds that (i) legal traditions differ in their ability to adjust to changing commercial circumstances and (ii) legal systems that adapt quickly to minimize the gap between the contracting needs of the economy and the legal system's capabilities will foster financial development more effectively than would more rigid legal traditions. We use historical comparisons and cross-country regressions to assess the validity of these two channels. We find that legal origin matters for financial development because legal traditions differ in their ability to adapt efficiently to evolving economic conditions.

Suggested Citation

Beck, Thorsten and Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli and Levine, Ross Eric, Law and Finance: Why Does Legal Origin Matter? (December 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w9379. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=359316

Thorsten Beck

City University London - Sir John Cass Business School ( email )

106 Bunhill Row
London, EC1Y 8TZ
United Kingdom

Tilburg University - European Banking Center, CentER ( email )

PO Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Asli Demirgüç-Kunt

World Bank - Development Research Group ( email )

United States
202-473-7479 (Phone)
202-522-1155 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/ademirguckunt/

World Bank ( email )

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Ross Eric Levine (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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