Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler? The Persistent Effect French Civil Law Has on Corruption, Institutions, and Incomes in Louisiana

36 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2020 Last revised: 17 Dec 2020

See all articles by Justin T Callais

Justin T Callais

Texas Tech University, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Students

Date Written: December 16, 2020

Abstract

Louisiana consistently ranks as one of the most corrupt states in the nation. In fact, the Pelican
State is the most corrupt state when looking at the most common indicator of corruption:
corruption convictions per 100,000. What is less clear about Louisiana is how the state became
corrupt. This paper seeks to provide the missing link. I argue that the high levels of corruption in
the state can be explained by its origins in French civil law. This historical influence has perverse
and persistent effects on the state, despite occurring over two hundred years ago. Through these
origins in civil law, corruption in Louisiana impacts its economic institutions. These institutions
then cause a variety of other bad outcomes in the state such as a high dependency on oil and low
incomes. This argument implies that resource dependency is bad for development only when
institutional quality is low. By linking legal origins to corruption, institutions, and economic
outcomes, I seek to offer a clearer explanation for why Louisiana sets itself apart from other
states in its politically corrupt environment.

Keywords: Corruption, Louisiana, French Civil Law, Institutional Quality, Regional Resource Curse, Regional Development

JEL Classification: D73, P48, R11

Suggested Citation

Callais, Justin, Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler? The Persistent Effect French Civil Law Has on Corruption, Institutions, and Incomes in Louisiana (December 16, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3647221 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3647221

Justin Callais (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Students ( email )

Box 42132
Lubbock, TX 79409-2132
United States

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