Legal Universalism: Persistent Objections

25 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2010

See all articles by Kevin E. Davis

Kevin E. Davis

New York University School of Law

Date Written: June 1, 2010


This essay addresses the question of whether there is any set of legal institutions that invariably promotes development. ‘Universalistic’ arguments answer this question in the affirmative. The essay begins by rehearsing classic objections to legal universalism. It then shows how those objections apply to even relatively sophisticated examples of legal universalism that can be derived from the Legal Origins school of thought, the Doing Business project, and advocacy of greater reliance on randomized controlled trials.

Suggested Citation

Davis, Kevin E., Legal Universalism: Persistent Objections (June 1, 2010). University of Toronto Law Journal, Forthcoming; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 10-33; NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 10-28. Available at SSRN:

Kevin E. Davis (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
Vanderbilt Hall, Room 335
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
212-992-8843 (Phone)

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