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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Lewis on Criminal Law's Contribution to China's Economic Development

Lewis margaretMargaret K. Lewis (Seton Hall University - School of Law) has posted Criminal Law's Contribution to China's Economic Development on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

China’s rapid rise to become the second largest economy in the world is nothing short of extraordinary. This Article looks at China’s impressive growth since the late 1970s and asks what role criminal law has played. Going a step further, what role might it play in the future? This is a particularly timely inquiry on the heels of a once-a-decade leadership transition and at a time when China’s ability to maintain a robust growth rate is facing rising skepticism.



Because of its astounding growth despite what is widely regarded as a weak legal system, China has repeatedly been singled out as diverging from the Washington Consensus’s embracing of free-market ideology and the “rights hypothesis,” which posits that economic growth requires a legal system offering stable and predictable property and contract rights. This Article argues that the law and development literature has failed to seriously discuss criminal law not because it plays a negligible role but rather because of a preoccupation with a non-interventionist state. It proposes that the conversation about the role of law in China’s economic growth is better understood through a broader lens, including recognizing the significance of criminal law. 

After analyzing how the PRC leadership has used criminal law in service of economic ends since the late 1970s, this Article explores how criminal law will likely play a multifaceted role in the leadership’s strategy to sustain growth going forward. It further cautions that what might work from a short-term regime-sustainability point of view actually threatens to dampen healthy, long-term economic growth. What is needed is more thoughtful, targeted use of the state’s coercive power, especially in areas where criminal law might effectively fill gaps in the relatively weak civil and administrative law systems.China’s rapid rise to become the second largest economy in the world is nothing short of extraordinary. This Article looks at China’s impressive growth since the late 1970s and asks what role criminal law has played. Going a step further, what role might it play in the future? This is a particularly timely inquiry on the heels of a once-a-decade leadership transition and at a time when China’s ability to maintain a robust growth rate is facing rising skepticism.


Because of its astounding growth despite what is widely regarded as a weak legal system, China has repeatedly been singled out as diverging from the Washington Consensus’s embracing of free-market ideology and the “rights hypothesis,” which posits that economic growth requires a legal system offering stable and predictable property and contract rights. This Article argues that the law and development literature has failed to seriously discuss criminal law not because it plays a negligible role but rather because of a preoccupation with a non-interventionist state. It proposes that the conversation about the role of law in China’s economic growth is better understood through a broader lens, including recognizing the significance of criminal law. 

After analyzing how the PRC leadership has used criminal law in service of economic ends since the late 1970s, this Article explores how criminal law will likely play a multifaceted role in the leadership’s strategy to sustain growth going forward. It further cautions that what might work from a short-term regime-sustainability point of view actually threatens to dampen healthy, long-term economic growth. What is needed is more thoughtful, targeted use of the state’s coercive power, especially in areas where criminal law might effectively fill gaps in the relatively weak civil and administrative law systems.

Criminal Law's Contribution to China's Economic Development

China’s rapid rise to become the second largest economy in the world is nothing short of extraordinary. This Article looks at China’s impressive growth since the late 1970s and asks what role criminal law has played. Going a step further, what role might it play in the future? This is a particularly timely inquiry on the heels of a once-a-decade leadership transition and at a time when China’s ability to maintain a robust growth rate is facing rising skepticism.

Because of its astounding growth despite what is widely regarded as a weak legal system, China has repeatedly been singled out as diverging from the Washington Consensus’s embracing of free-market ideology and the “rights hypothesis,” which posits that economic growth requires a legal system offering stable and predictable property and contract rights. This Article argues that the law and development literature has failed to seriously discuss criminal law not because it plays a negligible role but rather because of a preoccupation with a non-interventionist state. It proposes that the conversation about the role of law in China’s economic growth is better understood through a broader lens, including recognizing the significance of criminal law. 

After analyzing how the PRC leadership has used criminal law in service of economic ends since the late 1970s, this Article explores how criminal law will likely play a multifaceted role in the leadership’s strategy to sustain growth going forward. It further cautions that what might work from a short-term regime-sustainability point of view actually threatens to dampen healthy, long-term economic growth. What is needed is more thoughtful, targeted use of the state’s coercive power, especially in areas where criminal law might effectively fill gaps in the relatively weak civil and administrative law systems.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2013/08/lewis-on-criminal-laws-contribution-to-chinas-economic-development.html

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