Chapter 22

Strategic Interactions Between Modern Law and Custom

Jean-Philippe Platteaua and Zaki Wahhajb,    aUniversity of Namur, Belgium; University of Oxford, UK,    bUniversity of Kent, UK


The question of the role of statutory law in social environments permeated by custom and traditional norms is particularly important when the state law aims to correct social inequalities embedded in the custom. The conventional view is that modern law often fails to take root in custom-driven poor societies, especially when the formal law conflicts with the custom. Based on a simple, static analytical model, we argue that from the low activity of modern courts we cannot infer that the statutory law is ineffectual. Indeed, there may be an effective ...

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