We investigate the regulation of labor markets through employment, collective relations, and social security laws in 85 countries. We find that the political power of the left is associated with more stringent labor regulations and more generous social security systems, and that socialist, French, and Scandinavian legal origin countries have sharply higher levels of labor regulation than do common law countries. However, the effects of legal origins are larger, and explain more of the variation in regulations, than those of politics. Heavier regulation of labor is associated with lower labor force participation and higher unemployment, especially of the young. These results are most naturally consistent with legal theories, according to which countries have pervasive regulatory styles inherited from the transplantation of legal systems.
Recent research on social psychology and public opinion identifies a number of empirical regularities on how people form beliefs in the political and social spheres. First, beliefs are flexible and can be relatively easily influenced, particularly in areas where people do not have significant personal involvement (Doris Graber, 1984; John Zaller, 1992). Second, social influence shapes decisions: people are often persuaded by those they personally interact with (Mark Grasnovetter, 1973; Robert Cialdini, 1984). Such influence from friends, co-workers, and other “discussants” significantly affects the decisions on whether and how to vote (Paul Beck et al., 2002). Third, in the political arena, voter awareness of specific issues is quite low, and hence susceptibility to persuasion is high (Zaller, 1992).
We present a model of the creation of social networks, and of their use by politicians to obtain support, motivated by these empirical findings. These networks can be political par- ties, trade unions, religious coalitions, political action committees, or even listeners of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. The key idea is that people are influenced by those inside their net- work, but not by those outside, because those inside a network talk to and persuade each other. Networks are created by entrepreneurs using core issues that are centrally important to members, such as religious beliefs or union wages, but can then be “rented out” to politicians who seek votes as well as support for other initiatives and ideas, which might have little to do with their members’ core beliefs.
In the Anglo-American constitutional tradition, judicial checks and balances are often seen as crucial guarantees of freedom. Hayek distinguishes two ways in which the judiciary provides such checks and balances: judicial independence and constitutional review. We create a new database of constitutional rules in 71 countries that reflect these provisions. We find strong support for the proposition that both judicial independence and constitutional review are associated with greater freedom. Consistent with theory, judicial independence ac- counts for some of the positive effect of common-law legal origin on measures of economic freedom. The results point to significant benefits of the Anglo-American system of government for freedom.
In recent years, the field of comparative economics refocused on the comparison of capitalist economies. The theme of the new research is that institutions exert a profound influence on economic development. We argue that, to understand capitalist institutions, one needs to understand the basic tradeoff between the costs of disorder and those of dictatorship. We apply this logic to study the structure of efficient institutions, the consequences of colonial transplantation, and the politics of institutional choice. Journal of Comparative Economics 31 (4) (2003) 595–619. World Bank, Washington, DC 20433, USA; Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA; Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA; Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
Copyright 2003 Association for Comparative Economic Studies. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
We present a model of mergers and acquisitions based on stock market misvaluations of the combining firms. The key ingredients of the model are the relative valuations of the merging firms and the market’s perception of the synergies from the combination. The model explains who acquires whom, the choice of the medium of payment, the valuation consequences of mergers, and merger waves. The model is consistent with available empirical findings about characteristics and returns of merging firms, and yields new predictions as well.