"Using the Law to Change the Custom in Traditional Societies"

Jean-Philippe Platteau, Gani Aldashev, Imane Chaara, Zaki Wahhaj

    Research output: Working paper

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    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. As a result, even if the formal law is not resorted to in an explicit manner, its mere existence might create a situation in which its objectives are partly met. 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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2009


    • inequality
    • statutory law
    • legal reform.
    • custom

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