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Legal Origins: Reconciling Law & Finance and Comparative Law

27 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2006  

Mathias M. Siems

Durham University - Durham Law School; University of Cambridge - Centre for Business Research

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2007


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: K00, K20, K22, N20, N40, O10, P51

Suggested Citation

Siems, Mathias M., Legal Origins: Reconciling Law & Finance and Comparative Law (July 2007). McGill Law Journal, Vol. 52, No. 1, 2007. Available at SSRN: or

Mathias M. Siems (Contact Author)

Durham University - Durham Law School ( email )

Stockton Road
Durham, County Durham DH1 3LE
United Kingdom


University of Cambridge - Centre for Business Research ( email )

Top Floor, Judge Business School Building
Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom


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