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).