Document Type

Chapter of Book

Publication Date



legal origins, functionalism, law reform, legal systems, law and development, Doing Business reports


This article, written on request for the centennial issue of Ius Commune Europaeum, connects the economic literature on legal origins (La Porta et al) and the World Bank's Doing Business reports with discussions in comparative law about the functional method. It finds that a number of parallels and similarities exist, and that much of the criticism that has been voiced against functionalism should apply, mutates mutants, also to these more recent projects. The attraction that these projects have derive not, it is argued, from their methodological sophistication, but instead from "the strange lure of economics" and from the ostentatious objectivity of numbers and statistics.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Law and economic development, Law, Law and economics, Functionalism (Social sciences), Law reform