Revisiting Ramseyer: The Chicago School of Law and Economics Comes to Japan
58 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2021 Last revised: 6 Jul 2021
Date Written: June 17, 2021
Mark Ramseyer has been a leading force in bringing to bear the methods of Law and Economics to an increasingly ambitious analysis of the Japanese legal and economic systems. He has deliberately assumed an iconoclastic position in debunking a number of widely-held beliefs about Japan. More recently he has engendered a bitter degree of controversy by idiosyncratically analysing Korean “comfort women” and residents in Tokyo before and during World War II. In this paper we examine Ramseyer’s long contribution to Japanese studies and conclude that he has too frequently let ideological objectives, paralleling three key tenets of the Chicago School of economics, interfere with what should be cool-headed analysis. While asking many of the right questions, prompting often helpful responses and further research, he unfortunately has let a priori assumptions determine his answers. Ramseyer has proven reluctant to review his assessments or implications, largely dismissing contrary evidence.
Keywords: comparative law, Asian law, corporate governance, consumer law and policy, Japanese studies, economic history, market fundamentalism, rational choice theory, social science methodology
JEL Classification: K30, K33
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