This book investigates whether legal reforms intended to create a market-friendly regulatory business environment have a positive impact on economic and financial outcomes. After conducting a critical review of the legal origins literature, the authors first analyze the evolution of legal rules and regulations during the last decade (2006-2014). For that purpose, the book uses legal/regulatory indicators from the World Bank's Doing Business Project (2015). The findings indicate that countries have actively reformed their legal systems during this period, particularly French civil law countries. A process of convergence in the evolution of legal rules and regulations is observed: countries starting in 2006 in a lower position have improved more than countries with better initial scores. Also, French civil law countries have reformed their legal systems to a larger extent than common law countries and, consequently, have improved more in the majority of the Doing Business indicators used. Second, the authors estimate fixed-effects panel regressions to analyze the relationship between changes in legal rules and regulations and changes in the real economy. The findings point to a lack of systematic effects of legal rules and regulations on economic and financial outcomes. This result stands in contrast to the widespread belief that reforms aiming to strengthen investor and creditor rights (and other market-friendly policies) systematically lead to better economic and financial outcomes.
This book analyzes the role played by initial endowments and colonizer identity in seeking to explain institutional development in former colonies. It presents a model of two styles of imperialism that integrates the colonial origin and endowment views explaining current institutions. The authors argue that Great Britain and Portugal adopted an `economically-oriented' style, which was pragmatic and sensitive to initial conditions. For this style of imperialism the endowment view is applicable. In contrast, France employed a `politically-oriented' style of imperialism, in which ideological and political motivations were more present. This led to a uniform colonial policy that largely disregarded initial endowments. In turn, the case of Spain represents a hybrid of the two models. The empirical analysis presented here reveals a remarkable degree of heterogeneity in the relationship of endowments and colonizer identity with current institutions.
This book investigates the existence of stochastic and deterministic convergence of real output per worker and the sources of output (physical capital per worker, human capital per worker, total factor productivity -TFP- and average annual hours worked) in 21 OECD countries over the period 1970-2011. Towards this end, the authors apply a large battery of panel unit root and stationarity tests, all of which are robust to the presence of cross-sectional dependence. The evidence fails to provide clear-cut evidence of convergence dynamics either in real GDP per worker or in the series of the sources of output. Due to some limitations associated with second-generation panel unit root and stationarity tests, the authors further use the more flexible PANIC approach which provides evidence that real GDP per worker, real physical capital per worker, human capital and average annual hours exhibit some degree of deterministic convergence, whereas TFP series display a high degree of stochastic convergence.
This work investigates the time series properties of the unemployment rate of the Spanish regions over the period 1976-2011. For that purpose, the authors employ the PANIC procedures of Bai and Ng (2004), which allows to decompose the observed unemployment rate series into common factor and idiosyncratic components. This enables the authors to identify the exact source behind the hysteretic behaviour found in Spanish regional unemployment. Overall, the analysis with three different proxies for the excess of labour supply renders strong support for the hysteresis hypothesis, which appears to be caused by a common stochastic trend driving all the regional unemployment series. In the second part of the analysis the authors try to determine the macroeconomic and institutional factors that are able to explain the time series evolution of the common factor, and in turn help us shed light on the ultimate sources of hysteresis. The reader shall see how the variables that the empirical analysis emphasises as relevant closely fit into the main causes of the Spanish unemployment behaviour. Finally, some policy considerations drawn from the results are presented.