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.
Daniel Oto-Peralias is lecturer (Assistant Professor) at St Andrews University School of Management. He holds university degrees in Management and Business Administration and in Law, and has conducted postgraduate studies in economics and politics. He received his PhD from Pablo de Olavide University (Spain) in June 2014. His research focuses on the fields of law and finance and economic development, particularly on the role played by inequality and institutions in economic activity and welfare, paying special attention to the historical processes involved. Daniel has contributed to many economics conferences and has published articles in prestigious economic journals such as Journal of the European Economic Association, Journal of Economic Growth, Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, and Journal of Law and Economics. During 2016 he undertook consultancy work for the World Bank on the subject of law and development." Diego Romero-Avila is Associate Professor at Pablo de Olavide University. He has been Research Fellow at the European Central Bank, Visiting Professor at Vienna University of Economics and Business, and External Consultant at the World Bank. His research interests lie in the fields of Macroeconomics and Development Economics. He has published articles in such academic journals as International Economic Review, Journal of the European Economic Association, Journal of Economic Growth, Journal of Law and Economics, Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, and Economic Inquiry, among others.