Toward A Theory of Legal Reform


Hay, Jonathan R, Andrei Shleifer, and Robert W Vishny. 1996. “Toward A Theory of Legal Reform.” European Economic Review 40 (3-5): 559-567.


This paper describes some characteristics of a dysfunctional legal system, and then proposes some reforms of the legal rules that would encourage private agents to rely on the legal system rather than mafia to structure their transactions. We argue - using both theory and the example of Russia - that legal rules should accommodate rather than interfere with the existing business practice. Moreover, in the transition stage, good legal rules should enable highly imperfect courts to verify violations of law and tell courts what to do when such violations occur.

Last updated on 08/01/2012