The relationship between financial development and economic growth has always been a focus of economic research. After the Second World War, the United States experienced rapid financial and economic development. The United States and the former Soviet Union were regarded as the representatives of the market economy and the planned economy, respectively. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 raised the following question. Is the choice of economic development model so simple？ Despite the emerging unipolar world order, some scholars critically pointed out that the capitalist world contains diverse social and economic models. Today, comparative studies of the relationships between various financial development models and economic growth have once again become compelling. For China, which has become the world's second largest economy but is still in a critical transition period, international comparative research offers important theoretical and empirical guidance on how to improve China's financial development and economic growth model. There has been a general consensus that financial development promotes economic growth. However, after the “most advanced” U.S. financial system broke down in the crisis that started in 2007, which also caused a global recession, the academic community began to reflect on the validity of this consensus. A representative view is presented in the BIS research reports (Cecchetti and Kharroubi, 2012, 2015), which raise the basic questions: “Are any size and speed of development of the financial system to be regarded as good？ Is the bloated financial system dragging down economic development？” The reports find that the rapid development of the financial industry slows down a country's economic growth, and the size of the financial industry has a inverted U shaped relationship with a country's economic growth. A series studies (Law and Singh, 2014; Arcand et al., 2015) steadily confirm the inverted U shaped relationship. Chinese scholars report similar findings (Lin, Sun, and Jiang, 2009; Zhang and Yang, 2015; Huang and Huang, 2017). This study examines the persistence of the positive impact of financial development on economic growth from the fundamental perspective of legal systems. Sparked by the work of La Porta et al. (1998), the now prominent field of law and finance has demonstrated over the last 20 years that property rights protection and investor protection rooted in the legal system have a significant impact on the efficiency of a country's financial system. The source of a country's legal system is a crucial determinant of this effect. Based on this research, we further propose that a country's legal system affects the persistence of finance-led growth. We provide both theoretical and empirical support for this hypothesis. First, in terms of the institutional roots of the relationship between financial development and economic growth, we propose the social mechanism as a transmission route, including the conventional political channel, the degree of commodification of the key societal elements, the value and allocation of human capital, and the configuration of state and individual rights. We also propose the adaptive mechanism. Second, we elaborate on how a legal system's core concepts and traditions profoundly influence the persistence of the promotional role of financial development through the two mechanisms, and combine the stylized facts to illustrate this feature in the three legal systems of Anglo-America, Germany, and France. This exercise demonstrates the differential impacts of the legal families on the relationship between financial development and economic growth. Finally, we use standard cross-country data and dynamic panel methods to empirically test the relationship between financial development and economic growth in the three legal families. The results show that the persistence of finance-led growth is strongest in the German legal family, second strongest in the Anglo-American legal family, and weakest in the French legal family. On this basis, we point out that the traditional scale-oriented concept of financial development has inherent defects; the emphasis of the financial structure on either the markets or the intermediaries also needs to be adapted with reality, and it is impossible to make a simple comparison between the two. At the same time, it is necessary to consider how the selection and application of a country's core legal philosophy, with all its implications, affect the persistence of finance-led growth. Our research shows that the financial development model can be vibrant not only in the Anglo-American legal system, but also in a civil law system, such as the German legal family. China has its own longstanding historical and cultural traditions. The process of deepening and advancing reforms requires a thorough examination of the elements from any model that suit a particular country. Only through continuous absorption, sublation, and improvement will China's financial development have long-lasting positive impacts on its economic growth.
黄宪, 刘岩, 童韵洁. 金融发展对经济增长的促进作用及其持续性研究——基于英美、德国、法国法系的比较视角[J]. 金融研究, 2019, 474(12): 147-168.
HUANG Xian, LIU Yan, TONG Yunjie. Investigating the Persistence of Finance-led Growth: A Comparison of the Anglo-American, German, and French Legal Families. Journal of Financial Research, 2019, 474(12): 147-168.