Legal Origins: Reconciling Law & Finance and Comparative Law

27 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2007

See all articles by Mathias Siems

Mathias Siems

European University Institute (EUI); Durham University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper


Law and finance scholars have increasingly relied upon comparative law in the last few years. The work of these scholars has considered, in empirical terms, the effect that legal rules and their enforcement have on financial development in different countries. These studies have routinely adopted the traditional distinction between civil law and common law countries. Whether this revival of legal families (or legal origins) is a useful way forward is, however, a matter of debate. The author challenges the methodology these studies adopt and argues instead for reliance on characteristic features of national legal systems, as distinct from systemic origins, as a basis for analysis.

Keywords: legal origins, legal families, legal traditions, numerical comparative law, law and finance, law and development, Civil Law, Common Law, legal adaptability, legal transplants, Djankov et. al., La Porta et. al., LLSV

JEL Classification: KOO, K20, K22, N20, N40, O10, P51

Suggested Citation

Siems, Mathias, Legal Origins: Reconciling Law & Finance and Comparative Law. McGill Law Journal, Vol. 52, No. 1, 2007; CBC Research Paper No. 0023. Available at SSRN:

Mathias Siems (Contact Author)

European University Institute (EUI) ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
Firenze, 50139


Durham University ( email )

Stockton Road
Durham, County Durham DH1 3LE
United Kingdom


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