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Abstract

We examine the problem suggested by the troubled history of legal transplants, the instance of legal pluralism in which an existing territory has a new legal system overlaid on the previously existing customary system. We provide a very simple model for considering the interaction between legal regimes that exist contemporaneously within a single jurisdiction. We demonstrate that, even when the fundamental relationship between such regimes is as substitutes for one another, the existence of negative externalities between enforcement technologies can result in the withdrawal of enforcement efforts. We term this phenomenon legal dissonance – the situation in which legal regimes interact negatively in their production technologies. This model is then applied to the post-colonial state of Papua New Guinea where we use survey data to identify significant negative production externalities in the enforcement of informal law. We suggest that disorder may be the outcome of too much law.

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