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New research suggests that cross-country differences in legal origin help explain differences in financial development. This paper empirically assesses two theories of why legal origin influences financial development. First, the "political" channel stresses that (i) legal traditions differ in the priority they give to the rights of individual investors vis-à-vis the state and (ii) this has repercussions for the development of property rights and financial markets. Second, the "adaptability"doi:10.3386/w9379 fatcat:qdinstcscfbenmngt3xjkswigu