Journal Title

American Law and Economics Review





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This article offers evidence on legal systems' deterrence of acts that may cause harm, which extends law—and finance—literature comparing common law and civil code systems. Fatality rates from two causes are used to gauge deterrence: (1) motor vehicle accidents and (2) accidents other than motor vehicle. Both vary significantly across countries classified by origin of legal system. The data cover 50 years, offering evidence on evolution of differences over time. Findings for accidents other than motor vehicle are evidence on legal system flexibility, as the diffuse set of causes increases the difficulty of specifying harmful actions ex ante.

Recommended Citation

Michael L. Smith, Deterrence and Origin of Legal System: Evidence from 1950-1999, 7 Am. L. & Econ. Rev. 350 (2005).



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