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Legal institutionalism: Capitalism and the constitutive role of law

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)188-200
JournalJournal of Comparative Economics
Journal publication date1 Feb 2017
Volume45
Issue1
Early online date11 Apr 2016
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017

Abstract

Social scientists have paid insufficient attention to the role of law in constituting the economic institutions of capitalism. Part of this neglect emanates for inadequate conceptions of the nature of law itself. Spontaneous conceptions of law and property rights that downplay the role of the state are criticized here, because they typically assume relatively small numbers of agents and underplay the complexity and uncertainty in developed capitalist systems. In developed capitalist economies, law is sustained through interaction between private agents, courts and the legislative apparatus. Law is also a key institution for overcoming contracting uncertainties. It is furthermore a part of the power structure of society, and a major means by which power is exercised. This argument is illustrated by considering institutions such as property and the firm. Complex systems of law have played a crucial role in capitalist development and are also vital for developing economies.

Notes

This is an Open Access article available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ You may copy and distribute the article, create extracts, abstracts and new works from the article, alter and revise the article, text or data mine the article and otherwise reuse the article commercially (including reuse and/or resale of the article) without permission from Elsevier. You must give appropriate credit to the original work, together with a link to the formal publication through the relevant DOI and a link to the Creative Commons user license above. You must indicate if any changes are made but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use of the work. Simon Deakin, David Gindis, Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Kainan Huang, and Katharina Pistor, 'Legal institutionalistm: Capitalism and the constitutive role of law', Journal of Comparative Economics, Vol 45, pp. 188-100, first published online 11 April 2016. The version of record is available online at doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jce.2016.04.005. © 2016 Association for Comparative Economic Studies. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Open Access funded by Economic and Social Research Council

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