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Kennedy, David; Stiglitz, Joseph E.

As the link between law and economic development has been increasingly recognized, it has become commonplace to assert that development is not possible without a “rule of law” and good property rights. Today, these ideas are promoted in the academy, in the development policy community, and by leading international financial institutions, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations. There is even a special unit within the UNDP devoted to the promotion of these ideas. Law is certainly crucial for economic development. But what kind of “rule of law” is desirable? What constitutes “good” property rights? These questions are of particular importance to China as it continues the march toward a market economy “with Chinese characteristics” that it began in 1979, a little more than thirty years ago. China’s Eleventh Five-Year Plan recognized that one of the key challenges going forward is to create the institutional infrastructure to facilitate the development of such a market, including an appropriate legal framework of institutions, rules, and regulations. The papers collected here illuminate today’s debates about just what legal arrangements are, in fact, appropriate for a market “with Chinese characteristics.” We focus on two broad questions. How might one define and regulate property and other legal rights in a market economy “with Chinese characteristics?” And how should we understand China’s experience with significant questions of constitutional design, particularly with respect to centralization and decentralization, and the role of the judiciary? We hope to make visible the range of experimentation and the diversity of experience with legal and institutional design in China, while also offering a range of perspectives on the relevance of Western experience and Western ideas about the links between legal arrangements and economic performance.

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Law and Development with Chinese Characteristics: Institutions for Promoting Development in the Twenty-First Century
Oxford University Press

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April 15, 2019