Law and development

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Law and development is an interdisciplinary study of law and economic and social development. It examines the relation between law and development and analyzes how to use law as an instrument to promote economic and social development.

In the 1960s, some American organizations such as the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Ford Foundation sponsored the law reform in developing countries. Legal scholars from leading American law schools wrote many articles discussing the contribution of law reform to economic development. This was called the law and development movement. However, after only one decade, both key involved scholars and former Ford Foundation officials declared this movement failed.[1]

The presumably failed law and development revived in the 1980s, with the proliferation of law reform projects based on neoliberal ideals. These projects supported liberal reforms such as privatization and trade liberalization, with the emphasis on the rule of law. Substantial investments were made on these projects by international development agencies such as the World Bank, USAID, and other public agencies and private foundations, but these law reform projects were criticized for being ineffective or causing adverse impacts on development in many places in the world.

The cause of the failure in the first and second law and development movements is that the law reform projects were developed and implemented without sufficient understanding of the mechanism by which LFIs impact economic and social development, which is affected by various socio-economic factors on the ground. [2] The Law and Development Institute was set up in 2009 to promote studies in law and development and develop a comprehensive analytical model for law and development, and the Law and Development Review was launched in 2008 as the only peer-reviewed academic journal devoted to law and development.


  1. ^ Trubek & Galanter (1974)
  2. ^ Lee (2015)


  • David Trubek & Mark Galanter, “Scholars in Self-Estrangement: Some Reflections on the Crisis in Law and Development Studies in the United States” (1974) 4 Wisc. L. Rev. 1062
  • David Trubek & Alvaro Santos (eds.) The New Law and Economic Development: A Critical Appraisal (Cambridge University Press, 2006)
  • Kevin Davis & Michael Trebilcock, “The Relationship between Law and Development: Optimists vs. Skeptics” (2008) 56 Amer. J. Comp. L. 895
  • Yong-Shik Lee, “Call for a New Analytical Model for Law and Development” (2015) 8 Law and Dev. Rev. 1, available at:
  • Yong-Shik Lee, "General Theory of Law and Development" (2017) 50 Cornell Int'l L.J., available at:

See also[edit]