World Justice Project Rule of Law Research Consortium (RLRC) Conference, Fall 2014: What We Know and Don’t Know About The Rule of Law

Friday, October 31, 2014 - 9:00am - Saturday, November 1, 2014 - 1:00pm
Room V

World Justice Project Rule of Law Research Consortium (RLRC) Conference, Fall 2014: What We Know and Don’t Know About The Rule of Law

Fifteen years after Tom Carothers noted the “rule of law revival”, the rule of law remains at the center of the global agenda of development, viewed as a key to good governance, democracy, and growth. But we still know remarkably little about where the rule of law comes from, how it is sustained, and what outside actors can do to enhance it. This Workshop will bring together many of the leading scholars in the field to consider the state of the art on the rule of law, integrating theoretical and practical perspectives. The goal of the meeting is to define an agenda for rule of law research going forward.

The conference will have three main themes. One section will be on conceptual issues around the concept of the rule of law; a second section will discuss efforts to measure the rule of law, including the new World Justice Project Index, and empirical work that uses the measures. A third will draw on practical issues related to rule of law implementation, and the relationship of theory to practice. For each section, we would like to produce a set of research questions that might be pursued. We will thus have a closing roundtable on setting the agenda going forward.

Each of the principal speakers will be asked to present recent or forthcoming work. A commentator will open discussion. The last few minutes of each panel will be devoted to agenda-setting.


9:00: Opening Remarks

Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago

Alejandro Ponce, World Justice Project

9:10: Panel I: Concept & General Issues

Margaret Levi, Stanford | Moderator


Gillian Hadfield, USC & Barry Weingast, Stanford | Microfoundations of the Rule of Law [comments by Eric Posner, Chicago] (45 min)

Renata Uitz, CEU Budapest | Dismantling the Rule of Law in the Heart of Europe: Comparative Reflections on the Hungarian Case [comments by Aziz Huq, Chicago] (45 min)

10:40: Coffee Break

11:00: Panel II: The Rule of Law and its Antinomies

Jack Knight, Duke | Moderator


Nick Cheesman, ANU | Opposing the Rule of Law [comments by Jothie Rajah, American Bar Foundation] (45 min)

Bo Rothstein, Gothenburg | The Opposite of Corruption [comments by Jack Knight, Duke] (45 min)

12:30: Lunch

1:45: Panel III: Issues in Measurement of Rule of Law

Susan Hirsch, George Mason | Moderator

Panel Presentations (45 min):

Sally Merry, NYU | The Seduction of Quantification (15 min)

Kevin Davis, NYU | Indicators and the Rule of Law (15 min)

Alejandro Ponce/Juan Botero, WJP | WJP Rule of Law Index (15 min)

Comments: Adam Chilton, Chicago (15 min)

Discussion (45 min)

3:30: Break

3:50: Panel IV: Implementing Rule of Law in Practice

Kellye Testy, Washington | Moderator


Rachel Kleinfeld, Carnegie Endowment | What Works? Towards a Theory of Change for Reducing Corruption and Enhancing Law and Order [comments by Tom Ginsburg, Chicago] (45 min)

Kim Lane Scheppele, Princeton | An EU Infringement Action [comments/response by Maurice Adams, Tilburg] (45 min)

Discussion 45 minutes

5:20: Concluding Remarks

Robert Nelson, American Bar Foundation

5:30: Adjournment


9:00: Panel V: Empirical Applications

Katerina Linos, Berkeley | Moderator/Commentator

Julio Rios-Figueroa, CIDE Mexico City | The Rule of Law and Civil-Military Relations in Latin America (45 min)

Timur Kuran, Duke | The Financial Power of the Powerless: Socio-Economic Status and Interest Rates under Partial Rule of Law (45 min)

10:30: Coffee Break

10:50: Panel VI: Empirical Applications II

Juan Botero, WJP | Moderator/Commentator

Stefan Voigt, Hamburg | Measuring the Rule of Law: How to Deal with Perceptions vs. Experience (45 min)

Svend-Erik Skanning, Aarthus | Tracking the Rule of Law: An Exploration into Developments and Dimensions, 1900-2012 (45 min)

12:20: Closing Remarks and Adjournment

Informal Lunch

Tom Ginsburg