The impact of common law on the volume of legal services: An international study

Enzo Dia*, Jacques Melitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We show that the heavy use of legal services relative to output in the US is not a peculiarity of the country but applies to common law countries in general. It can likely be attributed largely to better ability to contract and adapt to changes in the environment. Yet common law also opens significantly more room for rent seeking by lawyers than civil law. Thereby the costs could outweigh the benefits. In supporting this last thesis, we control for other factors besides common law favouring legal services, including real output per capita, openness, and ease of entry into the legal profession.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEconomics of Transition and Institutional Change
Early online date8 Jul 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jul 2023


  • civil law
  • common law
  • openness
  • rent-seeking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)

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