February 03, 2009
BYU Law Review Symposium: "Evaluating Legal Origins Theory"
Posted by Gordon Smith

This Friday, I will be hosting and participating in the BYU Law Review Symposium, which is entitled "Evaluating Legal Origins Theory." Beginning with the publication of Legal Determinants of External Finance in 1997, Rafael La Porta, Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes, Andrei Shleifer, and Robert Vishny ("LLSV") launched an ambitious research project to explore the meaning and importance of legal origins in financial development ("Legal Origins Theory"). Over the ensuing years, LLSV have embraced an expansive notion of legal origins under which common law is associated with support of market outcomes, while civil law is associated with state-desired allocations. Legal Origins Theory holds that a wide array of laws and regulations are influenced by legal origins, and that these laws and regulations in turn influence economic outcomes.

Many legal scholars have been skeptical of Legal Origins Theory, even as economists have pressed the fundamental claims through increasingly diverse and sophisticated studies. Work on Legal Origins Theory has emphasized three themes: investor protection, government regulation or ownership of economic activities, and judicial enforcement of property rights and contracts. This symposium will bring the insights of leading scholars to bear on each of those themes.

Keynote Speaker

Simon Deakin, Professor of Law, University of Cambridge Faculty of Law, The Legal Origins Hypothesis: What are We Learning from Time-Series Evidence?

Session 1: Legal Families

Holger Spamann, Executive Director, Program on Corporate Governance, Harvard Law School, Contemporary Legal Transplants -- Legal Families and the Diffusion of (Corporate) Law

John W. Cioffi, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of California – Riverside, Legal Regimes and Political Particularism: A Comparative Law Critique of the 'Legal Families' Theory

Commentary, J. Mark Ramseyer, Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese Legal Studies, Harvard Law School

Session 2: LLSV in the Midst of the Financial Crisis

Lisa Fairfax, Professor of Law and Director, Business Law Program, The University of Maryland School of Law, Legal Origins Theory Through the Prism of the Current Economic Crisis

Ruth V. Aguilera, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business, and Cynthia Williams, Osler Chair in Business Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, “Law and Finance:” Inaccurate, Incomplete and Important

Commentary, Karl Okamoto, Associate Professor of Law, Earle Mack School of Law, Drexel University

Luncheon Speaker

Katharina Pistor, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School, Rethinking the Law and Finance Paradigm

Session 3: Government Regulation or Ownership of Economic Activities

D. Daniel Sokol, Assistant Professor of Law, Levin College of Law, University of Florida, Competition Policy and Comparative Corporate Governance of State Owned Enterprises

John K.M. Ohnesorge, Associate Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School, Legal Origins Theory and Developing Economies

Commentary, Chris Whytock, Associate Professor of Law, S.J. Quinney College of Law, The University of Utah

Session 4: Investor Protection

Poonam Puri, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Investor Protection, Enforcement, the Canadian Capital Markets and the Legal Origins Theory

Andreas Engert, Lecturer, University of Munich, Institute of International Law and Comparative Law, and D. Gordon Smith, Glen L. Farr Professor of Law, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, Are Civil Law Courts More Formalist? A Qualitative Exploration of the Adaptability Hypothesis

Commentary, Naomi R. Lamoreaux, Professor of Economics, History, and Law, University of California Los Angeles

Comparative Law, Corporate Governance, Corporate Law, Empirical Legal Studies | Bookmark

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