The distribution of legal traditions around the world: A contribution to the legal-origins theory

Daniel Oto-Peralías, Diego Romero-Ávila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The distribution of the common law was conditioned by a colonial strategy sensitive to the colonies’ level of endowments, exhibiting a more effective implantation of the legal system in initially sparsely populated territories with a temperate climate. This translates into a negative relationship of precolonial population density and settler mortality with legal outcomes for common-law countries. By contrast, the implantation of the French civil law was not systematically influenced by initial conditions, which is reflected in the lack of such a relationship for this legal family. The common law does not generally lead to legal outcomes superior to those provided by the French civil law when precolonial population density and/or settler mortality are high. The form of colonial rule in British colonies is found to mediate between precolonial endowments and postcolonial legal outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-628
Number of pages67
JournalJournal of Law and Economics
Volume57
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014

Keywords

  • Law
  • Legal origins
  • Legal outcomes
  • Doing business
  • Colonialism
  • Endowments
  • Indirect rule

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