981 Law & Modernization in Developing World - §001, Fall 2008

Categories: International and Comparative Law

Instructor(s) Trubek, David, Ohnesorge, John

Law and Modernization in the Developing World

Professors David M Trubek and John Ohnesorge

The seminar will explore changing ideas about law's role in
the process of economic development and the law reform and external development
assistance practices these ideas have inspired. The idea that a
"modern" legal system is central to economic development can be
traced back to the 19th century. After World War II, this idea became the basis
for organized assistance by bilateral and multilateral development assistance
agencies. Today, bilateral agencies like USAID and international financial
institutions like the World Bank devote substantial resources to "law and
development" and the "rule of law". While billions are being
spent, the enterprise rests upon a wealth of assumptions about the definition
of law, the relationship of law to market activity, the role of the state in
economic governance, the definition of modernity, and the efficacy of external
intervention. Because both the assumptions and the policies and practices of
the agencies based on them have changed over time, there have been several
different approaches to "law and development" policy and practice. This seminar
looks at changing legal and economic ideas and development assistance
practices, surveys critiques of current models, looks at experience on the
ground in areas such as
Northeast Asia,
and the former
Soviet Union, and
explores ways that reform practices might avoid some of the pitfalls of the

will include Trubek

, eds., The New Law and
Economic Development: A Critical Appraisal (Cambridge 2006), economic
development theory, and case studies of law reform and legal assistance in
several parts of the world. The seminar is open to law students and graduate
students in all UW-Madison departments, Students are expected to write several
short response papers during the semester and a research paper of at least 20
pages at the end.

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