Abstract and Keywords
This article focuses on the economic approach to institutions, looking at their role of supporting markets and exchange between economic agents, overcoming market frictions. The article is organized as follows. First, it defines legal institutions and presents different attempts at measuring them. Then, it surveys the historic, theoretical, and empirical literature that shows the importance of legal institutions for capitalism and economic development. It presents different theories of the divergence of legal institutions across countries and empirical evidence. The final section summarizes and looks forward.
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