Law and the New Developmental State (LANDS)

A joint project of GLS, Cebrap, Direito GV, and Los Andes University Law School

The research project on "Law and the New Developmental State (LANDS)" was launched by Professor David Trubek in 2007 with support from the Global Legal Studies Center, Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE) and the UW Law School. LANDS is co-sponsored by Cebrap, the Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning, Direito GV, the Law School of FGV in São Paulo, and the Law School of Los Andes University and has received support from the Ford Foundation. 


     Professor David Trubek (UW Law School) (Coordinator) 
     Professor Helena Alviar Garcia (Universidad Los Andes, Bogota)
     Professor Diogo R. Coutinho (USP - University of São Paulo and CEBRAP)
     Shunko Rojas (Harvard Law School/Inter-American Development Bank) 
     Professor Alvaro Santos (Georgetown Law
     Professor Michelle Ratton-Sanchez (FGV - Getulio Vargas Foundation, Sao Paulo and CEBRAP)
     Professor Mario Schapiro (FGV - Getulio Vargas Foundation, Sao Paulo)

LANDS explored the changing role of the state in development today and the implications of such changes for the use of law and regulation as tools for economic and social policy. It rests on the premise that developing nations are exploring new ways that the state can and should promote both growth and equity and that these efforts may go beyond the policies recommended by the “augmented Washington Consensus.” The initial focus of the research was Latin America, in particular, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela. An initial part of the project formed part of the GLS research collaborative on Remaking the Developmental State

Phase I

Pilot Project

A LANDS Brazilian Pilot Project by Diogo R. Coutinho and Paulo Todescan L. Mattos conducted in Brazil suggested that, in response to major setbacks in the transition to a market economy during the 1990s, Brazil, along with other governments in the region, has explored new development policies and experimented with new modes of governance and regulation (2008). 

In a LANDS working paper entitled Developmental States and the Legal Order: Towards a New Political Economy of Development and Law (2010), David Trubek suggests that a new developmental state model may be emerging, one which would be different from both the 1960s state-centric Import Substitution Industrialization model and from the neo-liberal ideal of minimal state intervention. Some of these ideas were developed in a subsequent presentation entitled Law and Development in the 21st Century (2011).

Cannon of Key Texts

To develop the Latin American study LANDS held several preliminary sessions and develop a “canon” of key texts which have helped orient the research. These texts were read by all participants and used to develop research designs.
List of Key Texts


LANDS has held several workshops and meetings where ideas were exchanged and preliminary drafts circulated. 

2008 Workshop

2009 Workshop

2011 Workshop

Phase I Culmination

Phase I of the LANDS project culminated in publishing the book titled Law and the New Developmental State: The Brazilian Experience in Latin American Context edited by Professor David Trubek (UW Law School), Professor Helena Alviar Garcia (Universidad Los Andes, Bogota), Professor Diogo R. Coutinho (USP - University of São Paulo and CEBRAP) and Professor Alvaro Santos (Georgetown University Law Center) May 2013.

The book explores the emergence of a new developmental state in Latin America and its significance for law and development theory. In Brazil since 2000, emerging forms of state activism, including a new industrial policy and a robust social policy, differ from both classic developmental state and neoliberal
approaches. They favor a strong state and a strong market, employ public-private partnerships, seek to reduce inequality and embrace the global economy. Case studies of state activism and law in Brazil show new roles emerging for legal institutions. They describe how the national development bank uses law in innovation promotion, trade law strengthens new developmental policies in export promotion and public health, and social law frames innovative poverty-relief programs that reduce inequality and stimulate demand. Contrasting Brazilian experience with Colombia and Mexico, the book underscores the unique features of Brazil’s trajectory and the importance of this experience for understanding the role of law in development today.


Phase II - Law and New Development Strategies: Brazil and Beyond 

In Phase II, LANDS explores the relationship between law and development strategies world-wide. Phase II is supported by GLS, the UW’s East Asian Legal Studies Center, the Harvard Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP), Direito GV, the University of São Paulo Law School (USP), and the Los Andes University Law School. 

The Steering Committee for LANDS Phase II includes Helena Alviar (Los Andes), Diogo Coutinho (USP), John Ohnesorge (Wisconsin), Alvaro Santos (Georgetown), Mario Schapiro (FGV), and David Trubek (Wisconsin/Harvard).

Phase II planning started with the participation of members of the LANDS team at the IGLP Workshop in Doha, Qatar in January 2013. In Phase II, LANDS will work with the Conference on Global Law and Development (CGLAD), a Brazil-based network of law and development scholars. 

Working with IGLP and the other LANDS sponsors, CGLAD organized a major event on Law and New Development Strategies: Brazil and Beyond that was held in São Paulo on July 1-4, 2013. The July event brought law and development scholars from Brazil, the rest of Latin America, North America and Europe together with policymakers and social scientists to discuss current trends in development policy and their implications for law. View Program. At the São Paulo meeting, the LANDS team agreed to work with CGLAD to map the status of the field of law and development in the Global South, examine North-South relations in the field, and explore ways that L&D research in the South can be fostered. 

Case Studies and Findings

Through case studies in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela, the project has identified policy changes, assessed the governance regimes they entail, and explored the potential role of law in these developments. Case studies of industrial policy and investment strategies in Brazil and Colombia, trade law and policy space for development in Brazil and Mexico, and social policy, poverty alleviation and inequality reduction in Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela trace the history of law and policy making in these fields.

These cases show that many countries are moving away to one degree or another from neo-liberal models. But they also suggest that there is substantial variation in the approach to the new role of the state in development in Latin America: some countries are trying to reinvent the developmental state for a new era; some hold onto neo-liberal commitments, while others seek to return to prior models of state activism. In some cases we have found new policies layered on older ones and contradictions within both policy and law.

The case studies also show substantial differences in the mutual interaction between policy and law and underscore the complexity of this relationship today. We find instances where law has served as the framework for policy innovation and others in which law has served as a barrier. We see instances in which new constitutional commitments to social and economic rights have had an impact on the direction of policies and others in which states have sought to bypass constitutional limits. There are cases in which intentional legal commitments have restricted the space for policy innovation, and others in which close alliances between lawyers and policymakers and investments in international economic law capacity have allowed a country to preserve heterodox developmental policies in the face of potentially restrictive trade law rules. We see situations where creative lawyers have developed new legal tools and adopted older ones to facilitate innovative development policies and some evidence that new more flexible forms of law are being tried out. 

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