The Web of Creditor and Shareholder Protection in 25 Countries: A Comparative Legal Network Analysis

39 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2010 Last revised: 30 Jan 2014

See all articles by Mathias Siems

Mathias Siems

European University Institute (EUI); University of Cambridge - Centre for Business Research; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: September 10, 2010


How different are common law and civil law legal systems? This question has occupied legal scholars for a long time. In the last 15 years the common law/civil law divide has also become a major theme in research of economics, finance and business. In many studies it is alleged that English legal origin countries provide 'better law' than French and German legal origin countries, and, as a result, more developed financial markets. This paper uses a new methodology in order to examine whether there are really differences between English, French and German legal origin countries, or whether the alternative explanations are preferable.

The basis of this paper are datasets on creditor and shareholder protection in 25 countries. Part II describes how these datasets can be transformed into matrices showing differences between countries. Part III creates scatterplots on how different countries are from particular 'benchmark countries,' such as the UK, France and Germany. It also introduces a new distinction between two types of legal origin effects. Part IV turns to social network analysis. It starts with different ways in which the relationships between all countries can be presented and compared by networks. Then, it analyzes the 'ego-networks' of the three origin countries UK, France and Germany. The final part examines whether 'cliques' or 'factions' of countries can be identified.

This paper is part of a wider research project. The related papers can be downloaded at: and

Keywords: social network analysis, comparative law, creditor protection, shareholder protection, legal origins

JEL Classification: G20, K00, K22, K35, L14, O17

Suggested Citation

Siems, Mathias, The Web of Creditor and Shareholder Protection in 25 Countries: A Comparative Legal Network Analysis (September 10, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Mathias Siems (Contact Author)

European University Institute (EUI) ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
Firenze, 50139


University of Cambridge - Centre for Business Research ( email )

Top Floor, Judge Business School Building
Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom


European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels


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