Using the Law to Change the Custom

43 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2010

See all articles by Gani Aldashev

Gani Aldashev

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES); University of Namur

Imane Chaara

University of Namur

Jean-Philippe Platteau

Member of CRED (Centre de Recherche en Economie du Developpement) at the University of Namur, Belgium

Zaki Wahhaj

University of Kent - Department of Economics; University of Namur; University of Kent - School of Economics

Date Written: June 8, 2010

Abstract

We build a simple model of legal dualism in which a pro-poor legal reform, under certain conditions, causes the conflicting custom to go some way toward producing the change intended by the legislator. It then acts as an "outside anchor" that exerts a "magnet effect" on the custom. We illustrate this insight using examples on inheritance, marriage, and divorce issues in Sub-Saharan Africa and India. We also characterize the conditions under which a moderate pro-poor reform is more effective than a radical reform.

Keywords: Custom, Statutory Law, Inequality, Legal Reform

JEL Classification: K40, O17, D74

Suggested Citation

Aldashev, Gani and Chaara, Imane and Platteau, Jean-Philippe and Wahhaj, Zaki, Using the Law to Change the Custom (June 8, 2010). FEEM Working Paper No. 60.2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1622150 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1622150

Gani Aldashev

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium

University of Namur ( email )

8 rempart de la vierge
Namur, 5000
Belgium

Imane Chaara

University of Namur ( email )

8 Rempart de la Vierge
Namur, 5000
Belgium

Jean-Philippe Platteau (Contact Author)

Member of CRED (Centre de Recherche en Economie du Developpement) at the University of Namur, Belgium

8 Rempart de la Vierge
Namur
Belgium

Zaki Wahhaj

University of Kent - Department of Economics ( email )

Keynes College
Kent, CT2 7NP
United Kingdom

University of Namur ( email )

8 Rempart de la Vierge
Namur, 5000
Belgium

University of Kent - School of Economics ( email )

CT2 7NP
United Kingdom

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