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Duke Law

Comparative and Foreign Law

Law and economics

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Functionalism Of Legal Origins, Ralf Michaels Jan 2011

The Functionalism Of Legal Origins, Ralf Michaels

Faculty Scholarship

This article, written on request for the centennial issue of Ius Commune Europaeum, connects the economic literature on legal origins (La Porta et al) and the World Bank's Doing Business reports with discussions in comparative law about the functional method. It finds that a number of parallels and similarities exist, and that much of the criticism that has been voiced against functionalism should apply, mutates mutants, also to these more recent projects. The attraction that these projects have derive not, it is argued, from their methodological sophistication, but instead from "the strange lure of economics" and from the ostentatious ...


Comparative Law By Numbers? Legal Origins Thesis, Doing Business Reports, And The Silence Of Traditional Comparative Law, Ralf Michaels Jan 2009

Comparative Law By Numbers? Legal Origins Thesis, Doing Business Reports, And The Silence Of Traditional Comparative Law, Ralf Michaels

Faculty Scholarship

The legal origins thesis -- the thesis that legal origin impacts economic growth and the common law is better for economic growth than the civil law -- has created hundreds of papers and citation numbers unheard of among comparative lawyers. The Doing Business reports -- cross-country comparisons including rankings on the attractiveness of different legal systems for doing business -- have the highest circulation numbers of all World Bank Publications; even critics admit that they have been successful at inciting legal reform in many countries in the world. Yet, traditional comparative lawyers have all but ignored these developments.

The first purpose of this essay ...