Grajzl and Murrell on Whether Caselaw Fostered England’s Economic Development During the Industrial Revolution @wlunews @CESifoNetwork

Peter Grajzl, Washington and Lee University, Department of Economics; CESifo, and Peter Murrell, University of Maryland, Department of Economics, have published Did Caselaw Foster England’s Economic Development During the Industrial Revolution? Data and Evidence.

Here is the abstract.

We generate and analyze data pertinent to the role of caselaw in England’s economic development during the Industrial Revolution. Applying topic modeling to a corpus of 67,455 reports on English court cases, we construct annual time series of caselaw developments between 1765 and 1865. We then add a real per-capita GDP series to our caselaw series and estimate a structural VAR. Caselaw shocks account for more of the variability in per-capita GDP than do shocks directly to per-capita GDP. The response of per-capita GDP to caselaw innovations critically depends on the legal domain. Developments in caselaw on intellectual property, organizations, debt and finance, and inheritance exerted positive effects while developments in property and ecclesiastical caselaw reduced per-capita GDP. Our analysis uncovers a ‘bleak law era’ when the legal system misallocated attention between development-promoting and development-hindering areas of law.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.
NB: There are two versions of this paper.