Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Publisher’s Version

Publication Date

8-2013

Abstract

In an effort to understand why the relative usage of relational and legal contracts differs across societies, this article builds a political economy model of legal development where legal quality of contract enforcement is a costly public good. It finds that legal investment tends to be too small under elite rule but too large under majority rule in comparison with the socially optimal level. Furthermore, elite rule, low legal quality, and high-income inequality may form a self-perpetuating circle that hinders economic development. In contrast to the conventional view, this article suggests that the often-observed association between heavy reliance on relational contracts and under development is most likely caused by the presence of elite rule rather than by a more collective-oriented culture per se because it is optimal for societies better at using relational contracts to start legal investment relatively late and to have lower quality of legal enforcement.

Discipline

Industrial Organization | Political Economy

Research Areas

Applied Microeconomics

Publication

Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization

Volume

29

Issue

4

First Page

835

Last Page

870

ISSN

8756-6222

Identifier

10.1093/jleo/ews004

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Copyright Owner and License

Author

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1093/jleo/ews004

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