This course will examine the various roles that law and legal institutions play in economic, social, and political development in both theory and practice. Its goal is to introduce students to some of the canonical writings on the subject and to critically examine ongoing debates in policy circles and academia by questioning their theoretical foundations and practical implications. While much of the law and development literature focuses exclusively on developing countries, this course seeks to place the debate about the role of law in development into a broader context and serves as an introduction to comparative legal institutional analysis. As such, the course builds on an older tradition going back to Adam Smith, Karl Marx and Max Weber with a strong emphasis on the political economy of socioeconomic development and its institutional foundations. This approach has been revitalized in recent publications, including Thomas Picketty âCapital for the 21st Centuryâ (2014), Geoffrey Hodgson âConceptualizing Capitalism: Institutions, Evolution, Futureâ (2014 forthcoming), and Acemoglu and Robinson âWhy Nations Failâ (2012) to name just a few. The course will discuss the meaning of âdevelopmentâ, the institutional prerequisites for âdevelopment as freedomâ (Sen) on one hand, and development as economic growth on the other. Much of the course will be devoted to the relation between freedom and growth and the institutions that increase or mitigate the inherent tension between these goals at the domestic and the international levels.
Students are encouraged to read at least one of the books cited above (Picketty, Hodgson, or Acemoglu and Robinson) before or during the class. Book review session will be organized on a voluntary basis during the semester to discuss these 3 readings. Dates and times TBA.
Required readings will be made available on the course web site for downloading.
Grades will be based on a final 3 Â½ hours proctored exam and in-class participation.