Experience from the Anti-Monopoly Law Decision in China (Cost and Benefit of Rule of Law)
The Network: Business at Berkeley Law (Apr/ May 2013)
18 Pages Posted: 6 May 2013 Last revised: 13 May 2014
Date Written: April 1, 2013
The general public typically has a positive view of liberty, democracy, and a reliable legal system. For their part, analysts are likely to take the legal system for granted because they have a positive view of the rule of law and are able to construct airtight arguments explaining why a reliable legal environment is important for investors.
However, simply stating that having the rule of law is always better than not having it may not be sufficient. Scholars rarely evaluate the magnitude of the positive effect of the rule of law. Certain studies may consider that legal risk increases costs at the operating level, such as the risk of suffering litigation expenses, but these studies have not analyzed how legal risk may cause investment loss.
Additionally, scholars may attempt to show that the rule of law is not a foundational concern for investors by developing models based on the interaction between governments and investors; however, these studies may miss the mark when investors hesitate to enter the market because of the perception of an unfair legal environment or when the same model is applied to a variety of industries.
In reality, it is not easy to calculate accurate figures of profit or loss resulting from the stability of the legal environment for an entire society, but a test estimating a rough ceiling of loss that might be caused by the improper application of the rule of law in a particular circumstance might be a valuable indicator for investors.
Robert Hahn et al. suggest a cost-and-benefit approach to examine the enactment of regulations; they apply it to the question of whether legislators should prohibit drivers from using cellphones while driving in 2001 and 2007.
Subject to assumptions and adjustments, such an approach might provide investors with a general idea about how much the application of the rule of law affects profitability by applying the analysis to judicial matters.
Keywords: Rule of Law, Legal Risk, Cost and Benefit
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