Global Capitalism & Law

Research Vision

Investigating the political, social, legal, and normative underpinnings of successful and politically sustainable local, national, and global markets

Predictable and respected law is essential for good governance and a foundation of productive market economies. Yet how capitalism and law interact has seldom been a central focus of attention.

Much policy work has sought one-size-fits-all solutions. This perspective fails to consider that similarly worded laws and similarly designed institutions work differently across social, historical, and legal contexts, and that governments may have multiple and competing objectives. We seek an understanding of how legal infrastructures can both facilitate and undermine policy success in the creation of healthy global and domestic economic institutions. We also investigate the normative underpinnings of legitimate and sustainable markets.

This Research Group studies how laws and legal institutions differentially contribute to creating politically sustainable market economies. Moving beyond debates about the varieties of capitalism, we want to better understand the interaction between law and legal institutions on the one hand, and economic and social forces on the other:

  • What effects do regulations of the global economy have on the ability of countries to determine their own social standards and political goals?
  • In a context of global climate change and growing inequality, how can economic growth be successfully combined with objectives such as the protection of human rights, sustainable development, improved standards of living, and political stability?

Our goal is to replace one-size-fits-all recommendations with a deeper understanding of how legal infrastructures can facilitate investment and build trust and predictability, while protecting the rights and addressing the needs of all citizens.