Skip to main content


Log in

Legal origins and environmental policies: evidence from OECD and developing countries

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences Aims and scope Submit manuscript


We investigate the implication of a civil law legal heritage versus common law heritage for environmental policy outcomes. We utilize several estimators that address selection issues. Common law countries set weaker climate change policies than do civil law countries.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S., Robinson, J.A.: Reversal of fortune: geography and institutions in the making of the modern world income distribution. Quart. J. Econ. 117, 1231–1294 (2002)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ahlerup, P., Olsson, O.: The roots of ethnic diversity. J. Econ. Growth 17, 71–102 (2012)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ang, J.B.: Agricultural transition and the adoption of primitive technology. Econ. Inq. 53, 1818–1838 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ang, J.B., Fredriksson, P.G.: Statehood experience, legal traditions and climate change policies. Econ. Inq. 55, 1567–1584 (2017)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bernauer, T., Böhmelt, T.: National climate change policies in international comparison: the climate change cooperation index. Environ. Sci. Policy 25, 196–206 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fredriksson, P.G., Wollscheid, J.R.: Legal origins and climate change policies in former colonies. Environ. Resource Econ. 62, 309–327 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hirano, K., Imbens, G.: Estimation of causal effects using propensity score weighting: an application to data on right heart catheterization. Rev. Econ. Stat. 88, 389–432 (2001)

    Google Scholar 

  • Imbens, G., Wooldridge, J.: Recent developments in the econometrics of program evaluation. J. Econ. Lit. 47, 5–86 (2009)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Klerman, D.M., Mahoney, P.G., Spamann, H., Weinstein, M.I.: Legal origin or colonial history? J. Leg. Anal. 3(2), 379–409 (2011)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • La Porta, R., Lopez-De-Silanes, F., Shleifer, A.: The economic consequences of legal origins. J. Econ. Lit. 46(2), 285–332 (2008)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • La Porta, R., Lopez-de-Silanes, F., Shleifer, A., Vishny, R.W.: The quality of government. J. Law Econ. Organ. 15, 222–279 (1999)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, L.-F.: Tests for the bivariate normal distribution in econometric models with selectivity. Econometrica 78, 843–863 (1984)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Marchand, S.: Legal origin colonial origins and deforestation. Econ. Bull. 32(2), 1653–1670 (2012)

    Google Scholar 

  • McCarthy, I., Millimet, D.L., Tchernis, R.: The bmte command: methods for the estimation of treatment effects when exclusion restrictions are unavailable. Stata J. 14, 670–683 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McEvedy, C., Jones, R.: Atlas of World Population History. Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth (1978)

    Google Scholar 

  • Michalopoulos, S.: The origins of ethnolinguistic diversity. Am. Econ. Rev. 102, 1508–1539 (2012)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Millimet, D.L., Tchernis, R.: Estimation of treatment effects without an exclusion restriction: with an application to the analysis of the school breakfast program. J. Appl. Econ. 28, 982–1017 (2013)

    Google Scholar 

  • Olsson, O., Hibbs, D.A.: Biogeography and long-run economic development. Eur. Econ. Rev. 49, 909–938 (2005)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Putterman, L.: Agriculture, diffusion and development: ripple effects of the neolithic revolution. Economica 75, 729–748 (2008)

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors thank the two helpful and knowledgeable referees and the participants at the “Beyond IPCC – Future Paths for Climate Research” conference, Gothenburg, for useful comments on this research program. Tobias Böhmelt kindly shared data and clarifications. Fredriksson gratefully acknowledges support from UofL. The usual disclaimers apply.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Per G. Fredriksson.



Table 4 Probit models (1st stage) Models 1–4

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fredriksson, P.G., Wollscheid, J.R. Legal origins and environmental policies: evidence from OECD and developing countries. Lett Spat Resour Sci 11, 369–375 (2018).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


JEL Classification