Comparative Legal Diagnostics

At the 2011 Biennial Conference of the Italian Association of Comparative Law, Giuseppe Bellantuono presented a paper on COMPARATIVE LEGAL DIAGNOSTICS. This is the abstract:

Is comparative law relevant for policymaking? Many studies have shown the influence of comparative legal research on legislators and judges. However, such influence seems confined to those phases of the policymaking process where the only task is to draft legal rules. In all the other phases, from agenda setting to the choice of policy options to implementation and assessment, comparative legal knowledge is almost absent.

I suggest that comparative legal scholars interested in increasing their influence on policymakers should provide the kind of knowledge which can be employed to frame policy problems. To this end, comparative legal scholars should develop a diagnostic approach to identify the main elements of the institutional context and their interactions. Drawing on the works of Elinor Ostrom, Oran Young and Dani Rodrik, I explain how comparative legal diagnostics could accomplish many different goals: ease communication between the academic world and policymakers, foster cooperation between legal scholars and social scientists, and drive comparative legal scholars toward useful syntheses on major methodological battles. The debate on European contract law is used to describe the main analytical steps of the diagnostic approach.

The paper has been submitted for publication. It will be made available from this website shortly.