Law and Development – An Institutional Critique

Frank H. Stephen

E Elgar

This book draws on the analytical framework of New Institutional Economics (NIE) to critically examine the role which law and the legal system play in economic development. Analytical concepts from NIE are used to assess policies which have been supported by multilateral development organisations including securing private property rights, reform of the legal system and financial development. The importance of culture in shaping the legal environment, which in turn influences financial sector development, is also assessed using Oliver Williamson’s ‘levels of social analysis’ framework.

As development policy moves away from considering the state as the primary driver of economic growth it is necessary to consider the institutional foundations of the market economy. It has been argued that without legal systems that allow for innovation and enterprise, all other attempts to improve economic growth are destined to fail.

Law and Development offers an unparalleled assessment of the role of legal systems in development by extending the analytical framework of New Institutional Economics (NIE). Using empirical tests to critique Legal Origin Theory, and assess the role of culture in the formation of the legal environment, this book proposes that cultural factors are much more significant than allowed for by previous frameworks.

This book will be invaluable for students of law and development, as well as academics researching the role of institutions. It provides a sound framework for considering legal reform and offers nuanced insights for policymakers interested in economic development.

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