Legal Change Within Legal Traditions and Convergence
This chapter tries to determine whether there has been legal change within legal traditions by testing for mean differences between 2014 and 2006 scores for each of the legal and regulatory indicators studied. The evidence appears to indicate that there has been legal change, particularly in French civil law countries. This legal tradition has experienced an improvement in the following areas: law on the books as measured by the indices of strength of creditor rights and investor protection, depth of credit information, and in the regulatory burden associated with starting a business, registering a property, obtaining construction permits, paying taxes and trading across borders. Furthermore, it attempts to establish whether there is a legal origin effect on legal rules and regulatory outcomes both at the beginning and end of the period, and whether the relative position of legal traditions changed after the reform. The evidence indicates that in many areas such as creditor rights and investor protection, efficiency of debt enforcement, and in the regulatory burden linked to obtaining construction permits, paying taxes and trading across borders, the statistically significant differences relative to the British common law have diminished between 2006 and 2014; and in the case of starting a business these differences have vanished. This supports the existence of catching-up of the French civil law to the average legal and regulatory standards of the British common law.