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Public Choice and the Challenges of Democracy

Edited by José Casas Pardo and Pedro Schwartz

This timely and important volume addresses the serious challenges faced by democracy in contemporary society. With contributions from some of the world’s most prestigious scholars of public choice and political science, this comprehensive collection presents a complete overview of the threats democracy must confront, by both contesting accepted ideas and offering new approaches. Using theoretical and empirical evidence, this book will be a significant addition to the current literature, providing original and enlightening perspectives on the theory of democracy.
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Chapter 10: Law and Economic Development: Common Law versus Civil Law

Francisco Cabrillo


Francisco Cabrillo 1 INTRODUCTION There is relatively ample literature based on the notion of demonstrating the superiority of common law, with its origins in medieval England and furthest developments in the United States, over the civil law system, on which the majority of the European and Latin American countries as well as numerous others around the world are based. There is plentiful room to discuss the validity of this position. The main objective of this chapter is not to offer a complete overview of this discussion, but rather to analyse economic development, based on market economy and industrialization, centred around the two major themes of private law: contract law and tort law. We shall look at some of the most interesting features in the evolution of these two branches of the law in the United States and Spain, the former a common law country, the latter belonging to the civil law tradition. The thesis put forward in this chapter, based around the analysis of the aforementioned is the following: both civil and common law systems have followed a parallel evolution, searching for similar objectives and adapting themselves to the ideas and dominant values present at historical moments in Western society. Moreover, the Zeitgeist, and in many cases dominant values in a given society, conditioned legal evolution to a larger degree than internal structures present within a specific judicial system. In accordance with this interpretation, neither the principle of freedom of contract nor the remaining legal institutions that have...

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