Microfoundations of the Rule of Law

Posted: 21 May 2014

See all articles by Gillian K. Hadfield

Gillian K. Hadfield

University of Toronto; Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence; OpenAI; Center for Human-Compatible AI

Barry R. Weingast

Stanford University, Department of Political Science

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2014


Many social scientists rely on the rule of law in their accounts of political or economic development. Many, however, simply equate law with a stable government capable of enforcing the rules generated by a political authority. As two decades of largely failed efforts to build the rule of law in poor and transition countries and continuing struggles to build international legal order demonstrate, we still do not understand how legal order is produced, especially in places where it does not already exist. We here canvas literature in the social sciences to identify the themes and gaps in the existing accounts. We conclude that this literature has failed to produce a microfoundational account of the phenomenon of legal order. We then discuss our recent effort to develop the missing microfoundations of legal order to provide a better framework for future work on the rule of law.

Suggested Citation

Hadfield, Gillian K. and Weingast, Barry R., Microfoundations of the Rule of Law (May 2014). Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 17, pp. 21-42, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2439668 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-polisci-100711-135226

Gillian K. Hadfield (Contact Author)

University of Toronto ( email )

78 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
4169784214 (Phone)

Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence ( email )

OpenAI ( email )

Center for Human-Compatible AI ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Barry R. Weingast

Stanford University, Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
650-723-0497 (Phone)
650-723-1808 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.stanford.edu/group/mcnollgast/cgi-bin/wordpress/

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