This article reviews some of the recent literature on the relationship between the legal system and economic development. We also look at the historical, socio-cultural, and political factors that explain the differences in the characteristics of legal systems across countries and thus affect the link between the legal environment and economic outcomes. Although the field of law and economics of developing countries is still in its youth, it is growing rapidly and is a fertile ground for exciting new findings, both theoretical and empirical. Further progress in this field is likely to come from the studies of the elements of the legal system other than the substantive law (enforcement and dispute resolution) and should move beyond specific analyses of the impact of particular success or failure stories towards more general analyses of the determinants and outcomes of successful legal institutions.
Oxford Review of Economic Policy (2009) 25 (2) 257-270 [doi:10.1093/oxrep/grp016]