CDDRL Working Papers
There is a general sense that the legal system in India is inefficient. First, there is over-legislation and unnecessary State intervention, both in the form of statutes and administrative law (rules, regulations, procedures). This increases non-transparency and contributes to rent-seeking, which is not distributionally neutral, because the relatively poor tend to suffer more. Second, over-legislation exists simultaneously with under-governance, because laws aren't enforced and the dispute resolution system, including enforcement of contracts, isn't credible.
Reforming legal institutions is not only a desirable end in itself, it also has the byproduct of adding to GDP growth. While these points are unassailable, most empirical work on documenting inefficiencies of the Indian legal system is fraught with problems. For a start, cross-country comparisons tend to be overly simplistic, ignoring the specifics of the legal regime and the context within which the country is situated. In addition, legal indicators used, even when they are not cross-country, tend to be too macro and aggregate and are indiscriminately used. For instance, data collected for Hyderabad are applied to all of Andhra Pradesh. This paper adopts a different approach. It draws contrasts between Gurgaon and Faridabad, districts (and towns) not only located within the same State, but also districts with similar historical and geographical backgrounds. This enables one to control for many variables that cause different trajectories of legal and economic development within and across countries. The paper then seeks to explain the differential growth in these two geographical regions through differences in the legal land regimes.