Monday, December 28, 2009

Stanford/Harvard Third Annual International Junior Faculty Forum

Harvard Law School and Stanford Law School
Third Annual International Junior Faculty Forum

Call for Papers

Stanford Law School and Harvard Law School have established an International Junior Faculty Forum. The idea behind this is to stimulate exchange of ideas and research, among younger scholars in the academy, from all parts of the world; and to encourage younger scholars in their work. We live today in a global community-- especially a global legal community-- and it is important to develop legal scholarship on a transnational basis. Scholars in different countries are often divided by barriers of time and space, as well as barriers of different legal traditions and cultures. We hope that the forum will be a step in the direction of surmounting these barriers.

The papers at the 2009 Forum were on a very wide range of subjects, from the WTO to issues of Muslim marriage in South Africa to the role of lawyers in the financial crisis. The young scholars came from many different countries, and, so too, did the senior scholars. Together, six continents and a wide range of points of view were represented.

The sponsors, Harvard and Stanford law schools, are pleased to announce plans for the third International Junior Faculty Forum. The Forum will be held in October 2010 at the Stanford Law School, Stanford, California with the precise dates to be determined later.

Junior scholars whose home institution is outside the United States and who have held a faculty position for less than seven years, as of 2010, or whose last degree was earned less than ten years earlier than 2010 and are not U.S. citizens, are invited to apply for the 2010 session. The first step in applying is to submit an abstract of the proposed paper. We would like these to be no more than 4 pages. Tell us what you plan to do; lay out the major argument of the paper, say something about the methodology, and what you think will be the paper's contribution to scholarship. We ask you to submit the abstract in English. The due date for the abstracts is January 20, 2010, although earlier submissions are welcomed. Please submit the abstract electronically to both schools-- at Harvard, to Juliet Bowler ( jbowler@law.harvard.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ), and at Stanford to Stephanie Basso ( sbasso@law.stanford.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ). The subject line should be: International Junior Faculty Forum. The abstract should contain the author's name, home institution, and the title of the proposed paper.

After the abstracts have been reviewed, we will in February invite a number of junior scholars to submit full papers, electronically (in English) by May 31, 2010. Papers may be on any legally relevant subject. We especially welcome work that is interdisciplinary. The papers can make use of any relevant approach; they can be quantitative or qualitative, sociological, anthropological, historical, or economic. The sponsoring schools would like to emphasize that they welcome papers from junior scholars from all parts of the world. No country or group of countries has a monopoly of talent. Please note that already published papers are not eligible to be considered.

An international committee of legal scholars, who themselves come from across the globe, and represent many different styles and approaches, will review the papers. In the end, about ten of the papers will be chosen for presentation at the conference. And, as before, at the conference itself, two senior scholars, will comment on each paper. After the commentators give their remarks, all of the participants, juniors and seniors alike, will have a chance to join in the discussion. Meeting junior and senior colleagues, and talking about your work and theirs, may be one of the most valuable-- and enjoyable-- aspects of the forum.

The sponsoring schools will cover expenses of travel, including airfare, lodging, and food, for each participant. Questions should be directed to Juliet Bowler ( jbowler@law.harvard.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or Stephanie Basso ( sbasso@law.stanford.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

Friday, December 25, 2009

Symposium: A Changing of the Guard: The Future of International Law and Development under Obama

A Changing of the Guard: The Future of International Law and Development under Obama
North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commerical Regulation

Friday, January 29, 2010
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Kenan-Flagler Business School, Kenan Center
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Register for the 2010 Symposium

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the international aid and development policies of the United States and other Western powers were dominated by the Washington Consensus, a standard package of legal and economic reforms designed to allow the free hand of competitive markets to bring economic prosperity and political stability to the developing world. The Consensus stressed the shrinking of states and their regulatory structures; privatization; trade liberalization; protection of individual rights; and the general Westernization of poor countries' legal systems. In the view of most commentators, these Consensus reforms failed to achieve their intended results. Poor countries who adopted them become poorer and less politically stable.
In recent years, U.S. development policy has focused on the importance of healthy institutions. While the Consensus aimed to drastically pare governmental institutions, the new institutional approach acknowledges the vital role of institutions - particularly laws and legal enforcement mechanisms - and focuses on ensuring that those institutions are healthy, high-functioning, and conducive to economic growth and political stability.

This Symposium will explore questions such as:

•Will - or should - the new institutional approach remain at the center of future law and development policy?
•Will other voices prevail, such as the growing call for the United States to stop meddling in the developing world and withdraw entirely from the international development business?
•Will the emergence of China and India as powerful economic and political actors alter the rules of the law and development game?
•Will a bold new vision for international law and development take shape under the Obama administration?
Confirmed symposium panelists include:

•Emily Burrill, University of North Carolina Department of Women's Studies
•Amy Cohen, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
•James Gathii, Albany Law School
•Margaret Lee, University of North Carolina Department of African and Afro- American Studies
•Ezra Rosser, American University Washington College of Law
•Sophie Smyth, Temple University Beasley School of Law

Thursday, December 24, 2009

China and India: The End of Development Models?

The Wellington Conference on Contemporary China


China and India: The End of Development Models?

An International Conference to be held at

Victoria University of Wellington
Wellington, New Zealand
April 12-13, 2010

Sponsored and organised by
The New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre
in association with
The Asian Studies Institute

Over the last thirty years, the impressive growth performance of China and India has caused a new wave of global anxiety about the rise of power and wealth outside the developed world. More pointedly, scholarly interests and debates have focused on how the rising of China and India would change the international political and economic structure, and whether India or China would outperform the other in the long run. What is missing amidst the anxieties and fanfare about the two new “giants” is a genuine scholarly interest in an understanding of how the impressive growth and social transformation has been achieved in these two unique countries. With “Japan as No 1” in the 1950s and 1960s, the “four little dragons” in the 1960s and 1970s, the extension of the “East Asian miracle” to the rest of the Pacific Asia in the 1980s and 1990s, and now China and India, scholars must have enough empirical evidence to revisit some of the long-troubling issues in post-War development research and debate: Is the developmental state essential for economic growth? Is export concentration inevitable? Are corporate groupings necessary? Does law matter? How do cultural and social relations contribute to economic and social development?

Moreover, China and India are two major world civilizations that have taken very different paths in modern development. Modern state building started in each of these countries under a set of very different conditions. China and India have been problematic cases in modern development. With the two countries reaching a new historical phase of their modern development, it would be useful to revisit the scholarly debate on modern development again and hopefully to lift it to a new level: how do colonial experiences, nationalism, communism and socialism affect a nation’s modern development? How do traditional social structure, values and relations transform or persist in modern development and how do these shape the emergent modern state? Are there different types of modernity or different models of modern developments?

The conference is designed to bring leading scholars in the field to address these issues. We are very pleased to have Professor Wing Thye Woo of UC Davis; Professor Pranab Bardhan, UC Berkeley; Professor Zhenglai Deng of Fudan University; Professor Prasenjit Duara of National University of Singapore; Professor B. Sudhakara Reddy of Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research; Professor Fu Jun of Peking University; Professor Sun Shihai of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Dr John Alexander Michael of University of Madras; Professor Sheng Kaiyan of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences; Professor Guo Sujian of Fudan University; Professor Dilip K. Das, of Conestoga College; Professor Heng Quan of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences;

We are inviting paper proposals on any aspects of the conference theme and welcome participation of scholars in related disciplines. We will publish selected papers as an edited volume by an international publisher. Those interested in giving a paper at the conference should forward their paper proposals (title and a 150-word abstract, with full contact details) to Professor Xiaoming Huang ( and Professor Sekhar Bandyopadhyay (, co-chairs of the conference organizing committee, no later than 30 January 2010. Registration details for the conference and acceptance letters will be sent shortly after that. For those who require a formal letter for travel and visa purposes, please send your proposal early and indicate accordingly. We look forward to your participation.

New Challenges for Taylor Trial

Came across this article in the Sunday Times last week. Despite a number of challenges (political, economic, legal) the trial of Charles Taylor will continue in the new year.

An international panel of four judges, based in The Hague, is trying Mr. Taylor specifically for arming and controlling a brutal rebel force in Sierra Leone during the country’s 1991-2002 civil war that led to the deaths of some 200,000 people. His indictment holds him accountable for the rebels’ crimes as they pillaged, killed and raped, used children as soldiers and hacked off hands to terrorize civilians. Many others died in his home country, Liberia, but events there are not within the mandate of the court.

Read more

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Law and Development: Women and Africa

Two recent conferences held in Africa focused on the role of women in achieving equality and political empowerment. The Eighth Africa Regional Conference on Women (Beijing+15) took place in Banjul, Gambia, in West Africa in November and the Pan-African Women Conference 2009 was held in Sandton, South Africa in October.

For more details see here:

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Evolution of Ideology, Fairness and Redistribution

A new paper worth reading is The Evolution of Ideology, Fairness and Redistribution by Alberto F. Alesina (Harvard), Guido Cozzi (Glascow), and Noemi Mantovan (Glascow). They add a contribution to understanding the development mystery.

ABSTRACT: Ideas about what is "fair" above and beyond the individual's position in the income ladder influence preferences for redistribution. We study the dynamic evolution of different economies in which redistributive policies, perceptions of fairness, inequality and growth are jointly determined. We show how including fairness explains various observed correlations between inequality, redistribution and growth. We also show how different beliefs about fairness can keep two otherwise identical countries in different development paths for a very long time.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

UN General Assembly on Legal Empowerment of the Poor

One of the trends in law and development practice in the past few years has been towards emphasizing legal access for the poor. The high-level Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor issued its report in 2008, and I now see that the report has received the endorsement of the UN General Assembly (see Document A/C.2/64/L.4/Rev.2 if you are interested). Like much in law and development, it seems to reflect a consensus between political right and left: much of the emphasis is on formalization of property rights, but also on legal services to the poor and poverty reduction.

I must admit some skepticism about what all this means on the ground. Its probably safe to say that anything endorsed by the UN General Assembly must represent a consensus so shallow as to be insipid. In most countries, for structural reasons, the law is a mechanism in which the "haves come out ahead." Political movements, of course, can force redistribution much more effectively than the courts. I wonder if there is any evidence on this kind of thing affecting large scale change in any particular country.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Law and Development as Democratic Practice

An older title but relevant I think to discussions about the role of law and development in Afghanistan and beyond...

McInerney, TF (2005) Law and Development as Democratic Practice Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 37, p. 935

Despite appreciable gains in the stature of law and development during the past decade, new doubts about the field's viability have surfaced. Recent scholarship seems united in the belief that rule of law and good governance promotion have until now delivered neither improved rule of law nor improved governance. The causes of these alleged failures are not yet well understood. This article contends that the problems critics have identified are principally the product of conceptual and methodological weaknesses of efforts in this area. After identifying some of these foundational problems, this article attempts to re-conceptualize law and development in terms of a broader process of democratic development. In a departure from the prevailing instrumentalist agenda, this article contends that rule of law promotion activities must respect the internal relation between law and democracy in order to bring about the conditions under which legitimate legal orders can emerge.

Keywords: Rule of Law, Law and Development, Governance

Monday, December 14, 2009

Request for CVs - Criminal Justice Reform in Georgia

******************* Positions have been filled ********************

The Center for Justice Law and Development ( is seeking interested parties for 2 consultancy positions in the Republic of Georgia.

Through Georgia-EU cooperation, the Georgia Action Plan focuses on the cooperation in the fields of Rule of Law and Justice specifically related to the implementation of the criminal justice reforms in Georgia (including judiciary, prosecution, penitentiary, police and law enforcement agencies). This project has not yet been awarded, so CVs would be vetted by a relevant Executing Agency for inclusion in an upcoming proposal.

Interested parties should have relevant education, at least ten years of experience as an international consultant, and ideally would have regional experience in the FSU. Salary is competitive and the assignment is based around 3 trips to Georgia over the next two years.

Please contact for more information.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Universities and Development in Canada

A note from north of the border, where participation in international development may become more difficult for Universities in the years ahead.

See here

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Impact Assessments in Finance and Private Sector Development: What Have We Learned and What Should We Learn?

I call to our readers' attention a new article in the World Bank Research Observer, Impact Assessments in Finance and Private Sector Development: What Have We Learned and What Should We Learn?, by David McKenzie, who makes the important point that we need better evaluative tools, including impact assessments to determine whether or not programs are effective.

ABSTRACT: Until recently rigorous impact evaluations have been rare in the area of finance and private sector development. One reason for this is the perception that many policies and projects in this area lend themselves less to formal evaluations. However, a vanguard of new impact evaluations on areas as diverse as fostering microenterprise growth, microfinance, rainfall insurance, and regulatory reform demonstrates that in many circumstances serious evaluation is possible. The purpose of this paper is to synthesize and distill the policy and implementation lessons emerging from these studies, use them to demonstrate the feasibility of impact evaluations in a broader array of topics, and thereby help prompt new impact evaluations for projects going forward.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Toward a L&D Afghan Research Program

Thanks for the interest expressed by some of you in this piece...

The recent announcement by the Obama Administration of increased troop deployments to Afghanistan (or should that be the Af-Pak region?) has been met with an air of skepticism by some and inevitability by most. It is hoped this surge will provide the basis for a new sort of stabilization required to promote an effective civilian strategy in partnership with the UN and Afghan people. Yet while some details of the new military strategy have been released, it is not clear how the civilian surge can address the dysfunctional Afghan governance structures. There are two cancers growing in Afghanistan. One is from the resurgent Taliban and Al Qaida remnants that challenge the Afghan people’s physical security. The other is the corrupt system of governance that fails to deliver basic human needs to its population and engages in detainee abuses and other human rights violations. It is not clear that more troops can tackle these twin cancers. While they may help quell the violence in the short term, it will take a different sort of investment to build the local capacity required to tackle the corruption and continued human rights abuses that have sown the seeds of instability in a region with a history of poverty, religious intolerance, and gender inequality.

An immediate critique to this line of reasoning is that addressing the Afghan situation requires a two-step process. Step one requires providing basic security. Only then can the development community truly engage in the second step of working with Afghan citizens.  This may be right and the ideal way to proceed should an intervention of this kind be required in the future. The reality of course is that USAID and a host of other development agencies from countries around the world are all ready in place in Afghanistan. The delivery of foreign aid and governance reform programming is all ready underway. Despite recent concerns about cost by Thomas Friedman and others, the attention of the world is firmly fixed (for now) on Afghanistan. This may present an opportunity for scholars to begin to catalogue events and focus on the connections between social justice, legal reform, and human development. What can the study of Law and Development tell us about what is needed to promote human security, stability, and political reconciliation? What do we know (or think we know) and what might an L&D Afghan research program look like?

For the full blog:

see here

Friday, December 4, 2009

In Defense of Evidence in Law and Development

Reading through the 3-part colloquium on the future of law and development, by Northwestern University has been a great pleasure. Anyone who hasn’t taken some time to review these essays should.

In addition to providing some insights into this community, (very important for us young'uns), it was great to see the variety of views presented by so many law and development scholars from different institutions and traditions. I was particularly struck by Mariana Prado’s exploration about the utility of adopting a ‘what works’ approach to law and development. While I believe her contribution rightly points to some complications inherent in this approach, I am not so sure about the “what works” definition she presents.

While speaking about “what works” is certainly not new, as I understand it, recent explorations focus on applying more experimental research methodologies used in education and health to development. In this way, one can replace the inconsistent and theoretically limited approach to existing practice with a model based on ‘evidence-based aid’ as presented in Fissman & Miguel’s 2008 offering Economic Gangsters. On this view the use of evidence can replace the past practice of privileging tool kits or traditional managerial approaches to law and development. By gathering evidence of what works the development community can more easily support, disseminate, and integrate law and development lessons learned though past projects. This would allow evidence and not ideology to influence institutions and organizations that today are too often concerned with the pursuit of unproven policies based on unreasonable expectations and unrealistic time-lines.

Whatever the definitional disagreements, I do not mean to undermine the force of Prado’s critique. Her concern that this approach may result in the attempt to replicate successes in very different social, economic, cultural, or political environments is well placed. In addition what one calls evidence may also be of deep concern. While social and economic indicators can be useful, more robust measures of project success are needed. These must include the views of the people on the ground for whom various reforms are purportedly designed. To these concerns, one might add the very serious challenge that only a fraction of projects that currently receive aid could be subject to trials. While the debate about what constitutes evidence is on going, attempting to use what evidence exists and investing in research programs moving forward should not be.

The issue I take is with Prado’s final comment that focusing on a "what works" or evidence-based approach might somehow result in the co-optation of scholars by those who favor simplistic fixes for complex problems. This to me is exactly backward and points to one of the major challenges for academics who seek to engage with and not simply comment on the world around them. The time for hand wringing on the sidelines is over. Without developing and disseminating scholarly evidence to allow policy makers and practitioners to make better-informed decisions, scholars risk further irrelevance. By exploring existing approaches, analyzing their outcomes, and most importantly developing and testing different methodological approaches, those of us interested in law and development can better study projects operating at the intersection of the past, present, and future.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

That's What He Believes

The always quotable Thomas Friedman offers another view on Afghanistan in the NY Times today. In short - there is too much nation building to do at home.

More here

Scaling up or down in Afghanistan?

Fareed Zakaria is on record as providing a limited endorsement for the Obama Afghan plan. He argues that by scaling back objectives, the plan may have a reasonable chance of succeeding.

More here

Coming soon: Toward a L&D Afghan Research Program

Article on International Justice Coursework

At the risk of self promotion (!) - a paper came out in Oct which may be of interest to the L&D scholars who follow this blog.

Wheeldon, J (2009) “Between Pedagogy and Practice: Developing and Delivering International Criminal Justice Coursework" Crime, Law and Social Change. Volume 52, Issue 5 (October, 2009)

It is available for a short time here.

Although focusing primarily on social, political, and legal elements to understanding international issues of justice, the paper offers a revisable road map for those interested in developing new or building up existing coursework. Hope you like it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Future of Law and Development, Part III

The third part of our wonderful symposium on the Future of Law and Development has just been published by the Northwestern Law Review Online Colloquy. Contributors in this batch are Kevin Davis (NYU), Adam Feibelman (UNC), Brian Tamanaha (Washington University) and Yuka Kaneko (Kobe University).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Comment on the Afghanistan-Tajikistan Comparison

Foreign Affairs has a recent article by George Gavrilis arguing for a "Tajikistan" solution to Afghanistan. Tajikistan's bloody post-Soviet civil war gradually wound down and, with the modest support of the international community, the country has now stabilized into a corrupt but peaceful autocracy, with the narco-trade being an important component of the economy. The key to acheiving something similar in Afghanistan, suggests Gavrilis, is a willingness to scale down expectations, turn a blind eye to non-democratic elements, and recognize the importance of basic order as the first goal. Development and democracy can come later.

This thought-provoking article misses one crucial disanalogy: the Soviets failed in Afghanistan, whereas they succeeded in Tajikistan over several decades. That is, Tajikistan had a centralized state structure, a largely secular population, and somewhat of a modernist ethic, notwithstanding its poverty. Afghanistan is a long, long way behind. Even if the parties could brought to the table and conclude an agreement, its likely to be more than just a couple decades before any Afghan government could exert the effective control of Rahmonov. Order, alas, is a precondition to development.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Promoting LD Research Linkages

A new resource for those interested in the relationships between justice, legal reform, and human development can be found at It is a new center of sorts, with the goal of promoting communication between students, researchers, and practitioners working and thinking about law and development. The center will focus initially on justice issues in the Former Soviet Union, the role and potential of diasporas in development, and more general trends in international development.

Contributors and connections are welcome.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Great L & D Job Posting at Tulane

The announcement below came in from Steve Griffin at Tulane. It sounds like an exceptional opportunity from one of the great centers of comparative law in the U.S.


Tulane Law School is seeking a full-time tenured faculty member interested in international development to teach and become the Executive Director of the School’s Payson Center for International Development and Technology Transfer. This is a unique opportunity to head a Center with international impact and to develop its potential to serve the Law School and diverse communities around the world.

The Payson Center was established in 1998 as an independent interdisciplinary center at Tulane University and offers a Ph.D., a Masters Degree, and a coordinate undergraduate major in international development. In 2007, the Payson Center merged with the Law School. The Center administers in excess of $30M in grants and contracts, mainly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The Center has begun to shift the focus of its grants and contracts to law related issues concerning the international environment, transitional justice, violence against women, child labor, and justice systems, to name only a few.

The Law School is seeking to hire a tenured faculty member (or a person who can meet Tulane Law School’s tenure requirements) beginning July 1, 2010 to teach law and development, a course in the regular law school curriculum (there is flexibility as to the area), and become the Executive Director of the Payson Center. This latter position involves management of the academic program and the general oversight of the grants and contracts. The Payson Center has an administrative staff of 11 full-time and one part-time employees including a financial officer and a grants and contracts manager. This is a special opportunity to help shape a new and exciting program. A law degree is required and experience in international development work is preferred. A Ph.D. or Masters degree is a plus. The salary will be highly competitive. The Payson center website is at

Tulane Law School enjoys a strong international reputation, with specialized programs that include maritime law, civil law, international & comparative law, and environmental law. Tulane University was founded in 1834. It is ranked as a Doctoral/Research Universities-Extensive by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It has a student body of approximately 13,200 undergraduate and graduate students, 100,000 alumni, and an approximate budget of in excess of $600 million. Tulane Law School particularly welcomes applications from candidates who will enhance the diversity of its law faculty.

Please send a statement of interest (no more than two pages) and your resume electronically to: Professor Paul Barron, Chair Payson Center Steering Committee, Tulane Law School ( Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and the search will remain open until the position is filled. Please address any questions to Paul Barron at the above email address.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Global Trends and Constraints on Tax Policy in the Least Developed Countries

Allison Christians (Wisconsin Law) has an interesting new piece on tax law and development that is worth reading called Global Trends and Constraints on Tax Policy in the Least Developed Countries.

ABSTRACT: Through decades of tax reform and cross-border collaboration, the world's wealthiest countries have adopted domestic tax policy norms that meet their mutually beneficial interests. But these norms have introduced rigorous change and increasingly rigid parameters for tax policy in the world's poorest countries. While much scholarly attention is devoted to identifying tax strategies that poor countries could or should adopt in response to global tax trends, relatively little is paid to the process through which these trends developed and how they constrain alternative policy choices. This article argues that many of the biggest challenges to taxation faced by the world's poorest countries are a reflection of the international community's failure to consider the impact of their tax policy consensus on these vulnerable nations. It concludes that the world's wealthiest nations should unleash the global constraints on tax policy by reforming their own approaches to taxation.

Friday, November 6, 2009

New paper by Santos

Alvaro Santos has a new paper, entitled Labor Flexibility, Legal Reform, and Economic Development, just published in the Virginia Journal of Int’l Law. Its discussed in an online symposium at

The paper can be downloaded here . Highly recommended!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Symposium: The Future of Law and Development, Part II

The second installment of our blog symposium on the future of Law and Development is up on the Northwestern Law Review website. This second installment includes contributions by Mariana Prado (University of Toronto - Law), Susan D. Franck (Washington & Lee - Law) and John Cioffi (UC Riverside - Political Science).

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The Poverty and Economic Policy (PEP) Research Network
announces a call for proposals for its 2010 competition for
research grants with a total value of up to $CAN 50,000

DEADLINE: January 6, 2010


PEP provides financial and scientific support to teams of
developing country researchers studying poverty issues.
Specific objectives are to:

- Better understand the causes and consequences of poverty
- Propose pro-poor policies and programs
- Improve the measurement and monitoring of poverty
- Strengthen local research capacity on poverty issues
- Develop new concepts and techniques for poverty analysis

To maximize capacity building, PEP favors teams composed of
at least one senior researcher supervising a gender-
balanced group of junior researchers. PEP especially
encourages proposals from the poorest countries. Funding
includes a core research grant of $CAN 20K, plus separate
funding of up to $CAN 30K to participate in training
workshops, PEP meetings, international conferences, study
visits and other activities. All team members must
originate from and reside in a developing country during
the course of the project.


Grants are awarded under four programs:

- Community Based Monitoring Systems (CBMS): For the
development and institutionalization of a community-based
poverty monitoring system involving either: (1) the
development and pilot-test of a CBMS, or (2) expansion
and institutionalization of an existing CBMS.
- Modeling and Policy Impact Analysis (MPIA): Analyzing the
impacts of macroeconomic shocks and policies on poverty
and income distribution (Priority themes: Inclusive
growth, public spending and agricultural policies).
- Policy Impact Evaluation Research Initiative (PIERI):
Evaluations of the impacts of interventions that aim to
increase human capital and alleviating poverty, e.g.
child health, schooling, training and safety net
- Poverty Monitoring, Measurement and Analysis (PMMA):
Monitoring, measurement and analysis of a wide range of
poverty issues (Priority themes: Multidimensional
poverty, public spending, intrahousehold allocation and
poverty dynamics2).


For more information and to submit a proposal, please
consult the "Call for Proposals" section on the PEP

PEP is financed by the Australian Agency for International
Development (AusAID), and by the Government of Canada
through the International Development Research Centre
(IDRC) and the Canadian International Development Agency

Decisions will be communicated by April 30, 2010 at the

Monday, October 26, 2009

Symposium: The Future of Law and Development, Part I

The first installment of our blog symposium on the Future of Law and Development has been published by the Northwestern Law Review. Further installments will appear in the next one to two months. As a reminder, the first installment includes pieces by Tom Ginsburg (Chicago - Law), Salil Mehra (Temple - Law), Katharina Pistor (Columbia - Law), & Anna Gelpern (American - Law).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Courts in authoritarian regimes

Readers may know I have an occasional interest in the role of courts in authoritarian regimes. There is a wonderful quote in today's NYTimes from Iranian "opposition" leader Mehdi Karroubi, who has been threatened with trial at a special court for clergy. The concept of this special court is itself interesting: the court is used as a device to maintain cohesion within the dictatorial class, somewhat similar to Robert Barros' found in his study of the Chilean constitutional court. But Karroubi's quote, copied below, captures well the idea that because of their public nature, courts can be used to rally support for the opposition, even in cases that they lose. Karroubi says: "I am not only unworried about this court .... I wholeheartedly welcome it since I will use it to express my concerns regarding the national and religious beliefs of the Iranian people and the ideas of Imam Khomeini, and clearly reveal those who are opposed to these concerns.”

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Rule of Law Unplugged

A worthwhile read that just got posted on SSRN is the working paper The Rule of Law Unplugged by Mathew D. McCubbins, Daniel B. Rodriguez and Barry R. Weingast.

ABSTRACT: The 'Rule of Law' is a venerable concept, but, on closer inspection, is a complex admixture of positive assumptions, occasionally wishful thinking, and inchoate political and legal theory. While enormous investment has been made in rule of law reformism throughout the world, advocates of transplanting American-style legal and political institutions to developed and developing countries in the world are often unclear about what they are transplanting and why they are ambitiously doing so. Scholars clearly have more work to do in understanding the rule of law and designing institutions to realize the objectives for which this grand project is intended.

In this paper, we revisit the concept of the rule of law in order to help unpack the theoretical and operational assumptions underlying scholarship and reform efforts. We do so from the perspective of legal and positive political theory; and we interrogate various institutional devices (such as constitutionalism and the independent judiciary) in order to shed light on how the construct of the rule of law is being put into service on behalf of cross-national reform initiatives.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Important new paper on the regulation of entry

Just published is important work by Simeon Djankov (an occasional LLSV member). If you buy into the LLSV project, he has a useful new addition to the literature in the World Bank Research Observer.

The Regulation of Entry: A Survey
Simeon Djankov

Simplifying entry regulation has been a popular reform since the publication of Djankov and others (2002). The inclusion of business entry indicators in the World Bank's Doing Business project has led to an acceleration in reform: in 2003–08, 193 reforms took place in 116 countries. A large academic literature has followed: 201 academic articles have used the data compiled by Djankov and others (2002) and subsequently by the World Bank. The author identifies three theories as to why some countries impose burdensome entry requirements. He also surveys the literature on the effects of making business entry easier.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Corporate Governance in a Law and Development Context - The Case of Brazil

Bernie Black did some seminal empirical work in explaining corporate governance of Russian firms a few years ago. He extends his work in the law and development of corporate law and governance to another BRIC country, Brazil. Among his coauthors is Erica Gorga, a very good young legal scholar from FGV in Brazil (and lamentably, someone who turned down a job offer from UF last year). Some of the findings in the paper seem counter-intuitive. This paper is a worthwhile read.

Bernard S. Black
University of Texas at Austin - School of Law; McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Northwestern University - School of Law; Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

Antonio Gledson De Carvalho
Fundacao Getulio Vargas School of Business at Sao Paulo

Erica Gorga
Getulio Vargas Foundation Law School at Sao Paulo

July 14, 2009

ECGI - Finance Working Paper
Northwestern Law & Economics Research Paper No. 09-20
U of Texas Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 152
McCombs Research Paper Series

A central issue in corporate governance research is the extent to which “good” governance practices are universal (one size mostly fits all) or whether they depend on country and firm characteristics. We report evidence here, from a case study of Brazil, supporting the second view. We use a survey of Brazilian firms’ governance practices at year-end 2004 to construct a corporate governance index, and show that the overall index and subindices for ownership, board procedure, and minority shareholder rights predict higher lagged Tobin’s q. A disclosure subindex is important by itself, but loses significance when it must compete with other subindices in the same regression. In contrast to studies in other countries, we find a negative association between board independence and Tobin’s q. Firm characteristics also matter: governance is associated with market value for manufacturing (but not nonmanufacturing) firms, large (but not small) firms, and high-growth (but not low-growth) firms. Our results suggest that country characteristics importantly influence which aspects of governance are associated with firm market value, and at which firms that association is found. They support a flexible approach to governance, which leaves ample room for firm choice, rather than a more regulatory approach.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA) Annual Meeting in Buenos Aires

Upcoming is the 14th Annual LACEA Meeting will take place in Buenos Aires, on October 1st -3rd, hosted by Universidad Torcuato Di Tella. There are some interesting paper presentations on law and development issues.

Law and Development - Where Do We Go From Here?

Starting soon, we will link to our forthcoming symposium appearing in the Northwestern Law Reviews' online Colloquy. We had a great series of posts on the future of law and development from a number of different perspectives.

Rule of Law Paper by Magen

There are a large number of critiques of the law and development enterprise, many of which say essentially the same thing: transplanting institutions is difficult, we have little knowledge about what works, and existing efforts have do a poor job of conceptualizing and measuring the rule of law. A recent paper by Amichai Magen, The Rule of Law and its Promotion Abroad: Three Problems of Scope, 45 Stanfurd Journal of International Law 51 (2009), does a particularly good job of synthesizing and reframing the problems. He articulates three problems of scope: conceptual scope, intellectual scope and empirical scope. It is a lucid discussion that places rule of law promotion in broader literatures of comparative and international politics. In the discussion of empirical scope, for example, he calls attention to the various mechanisms of external influence that have little to do with foreign aid per se. Only when we understand these mechanisms can we begin to see how intervention might or might not work.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Whither Chinese Constitutionalism?

China’s constitution has been described (by Professor Donald Clarke) as the least important document in the Chinese legal system. But constitutional discourse is clearly becoming more important in Chinese law politics, as highlighted by the recent high profile arrest and subsequent release of Xu Zhiyong, a lawyer associated with the Open Constitution Initiative. Like other communist documents, the Chinese constitution is usually described as serving programmatic and ideological rather than constitutionalist ends. That is, rather than providing for enforceable rules constraining government, the constitution is used either to bless changes that have already occurred or to announce new policies to be achieved in the future. One frequent pattern, found in the former Soviet Union and in China until 1982, was that new constitutions would be adopted with changes in leadership, as new leaders sought to announce their presence.

The 1982 Constitution, adopted shortly after Deng Xiaoping consolidated power and launched China’s modernization program, is an interesting document in this regard. Law played a central role in Deng’s thinking as he sought to provide greater institutional order to underpin China’s development. The 1982 Constitution de-emphasizes the Chinese Communist Party and nominally places the Constitution above all organizations in the country. Post-Deng leaders have modified the constitution through amendment, rather than replacement, preserving ideological continuity with Deng. Amendments have been used to mark ideological developments. For example, in 1988, the Constitution was revised to make reference to a privatesector to complement the “socialist public economy.” The 1993 amendments added the phrase “socialism with Chinese characteristics” to the preamble and introduced the “socialist market economy,” thus incorporating Deng Xiaoping’s formula into the document. In 1999, a reference to the recently deceased Deng was incorporated into the preamble. In 2004, the Constitution was amended to guarantee private property rights and provide for compensation for expropriated land, an important signal for both foreign investors and China’s own market sector. Human rights are also included, reflecting the Party’s ideological pushback against critics. In addition, in keeping with the tradition of each Chinese leader’s leaving his mark on the Constitution, Jiang Zemin’s theory of the Three Represents was introduced into the preamble. This provided ideological coverage for inclusion of the business class (“advanced productive forces”). It seems highly likely that a future amendment will incorporate the latest formula of the Harmonious Society that is the mark of current leaders, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao.

My forthcoming co-authored book, The Endurance of National Constitutions, speculates that China’s 1982 Constitution might ultimately play a role not unlike that of Mexico’s 1917 Constitution. Mexico under the PRI regime had a constitution that embodied ideological continuity, but not constitutionalism. Over the long period of PRI rule, however, the constitution was frequently amended to co-opt and include new social forces as they arose. This led to gradually increasing congruence between the formal promises of the text and actual social practice. Eventually, when Mexico democratized in the late 1990s, the constitution was preserved and now operates as a more significant constraint on political actors, with both left and right wing parties relying on it in particular instances. The story shows the gradually increasing importance of a constitution within an authoritarian regime, under conditions in which there is a need for ideological continuity. To be sure, the analogy between China and Mexico is speculative, and there are important structural and ideological differences between the CCP and the PRI. But the Mexico outcome is at least one possible model for China. More on the Chinese Constitution can be found in an excellent forthcoming book edited by Stephanie Balme and Michael Dowdle. No doubt we’ll have more to say about the topic when that book hits the shelves.

(cross-posted at

Monday, August 3, 2009

How Do We Explain the Decline if Latin America?

Sebastian Edwards of UCLA has an interesting new paper that provides some economic history of the Latin America and explains its relative decline. Hint: too much government intervention is a bad thing.

FORTY YEARS OF LATIN AMERICA'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: From the Alliance for Progress to the Washington Consensus
by Sebastian Edwards - #15190 (IFM ITI)

Abstract: In this paper I analyze the evolution of economic and social conditions in Latin America from the 1950s through the 1980s, when deep external crises erupted in country after country. The point of departure of our story is the political awakening of the region in the late 1950s and early 1960s and the emergence of guerilla movements in many countries, including in Cuba. I then analyze the Alliance for Progress, a major and ambitious aid program sponsored by the United States whose main objective was to improve social conditions in the region. I show that in spite of the Alliance, social circumstances did not improve significantly; I also show that throughout this period protectionism and government intervention became more ingrained, discouraging productivity improvements. I then deal with inflation, fiscal largesse, and the Mexican debt crisis of 1982, a crisis that led to the so-called "lost decade." The paper ends with a discussion of the launching of the reforms of the Washington Consensus in 1989-1990. I provide a detailed analysis of the most important elements of this consensus, and I touch on some of the implementation challenges.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Law, the World Bank, and the Politics of the Surveillance Culture

As anyone who has followed the impact of US New and World Report on universities will testify, we live in a surveillance culture in which statistical indicators reflecting policy choices are shaping behavior of institutions and individuals. Often these indicators have a quasi-scientific quality and give substantial power to technocratic elites. But occasionally they become the target of political contestation. The saga of the World Bank's "Employing Workers Indicator" (EWI) illustrates the potential of contestation over a legal indicator.

The EWI is part of the overall Doing Business project. Doing Business ranks countries in terms of what it considers to be a favorable business climate. EWI has a strong deregulatory slant, giving the highest rating to countries with the lowest level of job protection for workers. As a result, borrowers may come under pressure to deregulate their labor markets.

Doing Business has been criticized by academics and unions for some time. Alvaro Santos, Kevin Davis and others have published critical analyzes of the way data is collected, indicators developed, and policy conclusions drawn. The International Trade Union Conference (ITUC) has pressed the Bank and the IMF to change the EWI to make it follow ILO standards more closely. The AFL-CIO has supported this effort and sought Congressional support for the effort.

Congressman Barney Frank has been an outspoken critic of the EWI for some time and has been putting pressure on the Bank to change the indicator. He has held hearings and it is reported he has threatened to condition future US funds for the Bank on reform of EWI. In April, the Bank announced that it is no longer using the EWI and that it would develop a new approach using ILO standards. It stated that the EWI would no longer be used for policy advice or to evaluate a country's development strategy. This was greeted warmly by ITUC. (The Bank's announcement is at ITUC's reaction is at

That is not the end of the story. The struggle continues as the Bank develops a new version of the EWI. It looks like the Congress is not satisfied that the issue has been resolved satisfactorily. In June, it added a section to the House Supplemental Appropriations Bill that would require the US Executive Directors at The Bank to pressure for suspension of the current EWI and revision of the indicators in a way that "fairly represent the value of internationally recognized worker's rights".

Friday, July 24, 2009

Law and Development Academic Communities

I just returned from two weeks in Chile. I have lots of interesting Law and Development thoughts but as we arrived in the US at 4:48am today, my thoughts are about going to sleep. However, I would note that from what I can tell, Law and Development is as fragmented in Chile as in the US. Generally, the law and econ people don't really talk to the law and society people and vice versa.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New paper by Cohen

Amy Cohen of Ohio State just published an interesting piece called Thinking with Culture in Law and Development, 57 Buffalo Law Review 511 (2009). An SSRN version is available here.

Abstract: This Article considers a recent programmatic shift among law and development scholars who have moved from advocating building rule-of-law processes, rules, and institutions to also building rule-of-law cultures. The Article carefully examines how these scholars envision culture as a tool to refashion the relationship between legal institutions and ordinary individuals. It traces the ways in which they use culture as a means to take law - general, universal, and acultural - and to make law specific, local, and embedded within the consciousness of ordinary people. It then suggests that this turn from law to culture produces a conceptualization of culture uncannily analogous to the conceptualization of law that the turn to culture was meant to supplement and correct. This similarity becomes especially apparent when examining development projects. The Article therefore draws on ethnographic examples of development challenges in Nepal to illustrate the difficulties inherent in culture change projects and the dangers of conceptualizing culture apart from the politics and conflict of everyday life.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A new location for an old blog...

The Law and Development Blog, formerly located here is moving to this new neighborhood! Look for regular posts beginning in August, and a terrific web symposium on law and development later in the Fall.