Leo Spitz Professor of Law, University of Chicago

Director, The Comparative Constitutions Project 

Tom Ginsburg

Constitutional Interpretation in Law-Making: China's Invisible Constitutional Enforcement Mechanism, American Journal of Comparative Law (forthcoming 2015) (with Yan Lin).


The Teaching/ Research Trade-Off in Law: Data From the Right Tail, 39 Evaluation Review 1: 46-81 (2015) (with Thomas J. Miles).


[Dis-]Informing the People's Discretion: Judicial Deference Under the National Security Exemption of the Freedom of Information Act, 66 Administrative Law Review 4: 725-284 (2014) (with Susan Nevelow Mart).


Stjórnarskrárgerd á Tímum Gagnæis: Ísland í Samanburdi Vid Önnur Lönd, in Lýðræðistilraunir. Ísland í hruni og endurreisn 57-74 (Jón Ólafsson, ed., 2014) (with Zachary Elkins).

Fordelene Ved Evolusjon I En Revolusjonær Tidsalder: Norges varige grunnlov I et komparativt perspektiv, 31 Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift 3: 225-237 (2014).

Does the Constitutional Amendment Rule Matter at All? Amendment Cultures and the Challenges of Measuring Amendment Difficulty, Coase-Sandor Working Paper Series in Law and Economics, No. 682 (2014); Public Law & Legal Theory Working Papers, No. 472 (2014).

We the Peoples: The Global Origins of Constitutional Preambles, 46 George Washington International Law Review​: 305-340 (2014) (with Daniel Rockmore and Nicholas Foti) (translated into Spanish in Revista del Cultura Politica). 

Constitutional Islamization and Human Rights: The Surprising Origin and Spread of Islamic Supremacy in Constitutions, 54 Virginia Journal of International Law 3: 615-695 (2014) (with Dawood Ahmed).

What Can Constitutions Do?: The Afghan Case, 24 Journal of Democracy 116 (2014).

Chaining the Dogs of War: Comparative Data, Chicago Journal of International Law 15: 138-62 (2014).

Fruit of the Poisoned Vine? Some Comparative Observations on Chile’s Constitution, Centro de Estudios Politicos (in Spanish).

Property Rights and Economic Development in Northeast Asia, in Festschrift zu Ehren von Christian Kirchner: Recht im ökonomischen Kontext 785-98 (Wulf A. Kaal, Matthias Schmidt und Andreas Schwartze, eds., Mohr Siebeck Tübingen., 2014).

Introduction, in Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia 1-22 (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014) (with Rosalind Dixon).

Participation in Constitutional Design: Asian Exceptionalism, in Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia 23-46 (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014) (with Justin Blount).

Constitutional Courts in Asia, in Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia 47-79 (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014).

East Asian Constitutionalism in Comparative Perspective, in Constitutionalism in Asia in the Early 21st Century 32-51 (Albert H. Y. Chen, ed., 2014). 
 
Libertarian Paternalism, Path Dependence, and Temporary Law, 81 University of Chicago Law Review 291-359 (2014) (with Jonathan Masur and Richard McAdams).

The Politics of Law and Development in Middle-Income Countries, in Law and Development in Middle Income Countries (Cambridge University Press, 2014) (with Randall Peerenboom).


An Epidemiological Analysis of Constitutional Mortality, in Law and Politics: Critical Concepts in Political Science v. 4, Comparative and International Issues (Routledge, 2013) (with Zachary Elkins and James Melton).

The Politics of Courts in Democratization: Four Junctures in Asia in Consequential Courts: Judicial Roles in Global Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2013).


Constitutions as Contract, Constitutions as Charter, in Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Introduction: Constitutions in Authoritarian Regimes, in Constitutions in Authoritarian Regimes (Cambridge University Press, 2013) (with Alberto Simpser).

The Content of Authoritarian Constitutions, in Constitutions in Authoritarian Regimes (Cambridge University Press, 2013) (with Zachary Elkins and James Melton).

Political Constraints on International Courts, in Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication (Karen Alter, Cesare Romano and Yuval Shany, eds., 2013).

Judicial Roles in Nonjudicial Functions, 12 Wash. U. Global Studies L. Rev. 755-82 (2013) (with Nuno Garoupa).

Why Do Countries Adopt Constitutional Review? Journal of Law, Economics and Organization (2013); doi: 10.1093/jleo/ewt008 (with Mila Versteeg).

Beyond Presidentialism and Parliamentarism, British J. Political Science (2013) (with Jose Cheibub and Zachary Elkins)

The South African Constitutional Court and Socio-economic Rights as ‘Insurance Swaps’, 11 South Africa Constitutional Court Review 1 (2011), reprinted in Coase-Sandor Institute for Law and Economics Working Paper, No. 650 (2013) & reprinted in Public Law & Legal Theory Working Papers, No. 436 (2013).  

When to Overthrow your Government: The Right to Resist in the World’s Constitutions, 60 UCLA Law Review 1184-1260 (2013) (with Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez and Mila Versteeg).

Getting to Rights: Treaty Ratification, Constitutional Convergence, and Human Rights Practice, 51(4) Harvard Journal of International Law 201-34 (2013), followed by online symposium response Getting to the Right Answers on Rights (http://opiniojuris.org/2013/03/06/hilj-symposium-getting-to-the-right-answers-about-rights/) (with Zachary Elkins and Beth Simmons).

The Judicialization of Japanese Politics? in Japanese Law: An Era of Transition (Tom Ginsburg and Harry Scheiber, eds., Berkeley: Robbins Collection Publishers 2013) (with Tokujin Matsudaira).

Still the Land of Presidentialism? Executives and the Latin American Constitution, in New Constitutionalism In Latin America: Promises and Practices 73-99 (Detlef Nolte and Almut Schilling-Vacaflor, eds., Ashgate 2012) (with Zachary Elkins and Jose Cheibub).


Comments on Law And Versteeg’s the Declining Influence of the United States Constitution, 87 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 2088 (2012) (with Zachary Elkins and James Melton)

Constitutionalism: East Asian Antecedents, 88 Chi-Kent L. Rev. 11-33 (2012).

On the Interpretability of Law: Lessons from the Decoding of National Constitutions, British J. Political Science (2012) (with James Melton, Zachary Elkins and Kalev Leetaru).

Courts and Democracies: A Review Essay, 37 Law and Social Inquiry 720-42 (2012).

Constitutional Law and Courts, in Research Handbook on Comparative Law and Society (David Clark, ed., Edward Elgar Publishing 2012).

The Judicialization of Japanese Politics, in The Judicialization of Politics in Asia 17-36 (Bjoern Dressel, ed., Routledge 2012).

The Empirical Turn in International Legal Scholarship, 106 American Journal of International Law 1-46 (2012) (with Gregory Shaffer).

Lawrence M. Friedman’s Comparative Law, with Notes on Japan, 5:2 Journal of Comparative Law 92-103 (2010, appearing 2012), reprinted in Using Legal Culture (David Nelken, ed., Wiley, Simmonds and Hill, 2012).

An Economic Analysis of the Pashtunwali, U.Chicago Legal Forum 89 (2011).

Building Reputation In Constitutional Courts: Political And Judicial Audiences, 28 Arizona J. Int’l and Comp. L 539-68 (2011) (with Nuno Garoupa).

Deciding Not to Decide: Deferral in Constitutional Design, 9 I-Con: International Journal of Constitutional Law 636-72 (2012) (with Rosalind Dixon).

Hybrid Judicial Career Structures: Reputation vs. Legal Tradition 3 J. Legal Analysis 1-38 (2012) (with Nuno Garoupa).

The Future of National Constitutions, in The Law of the Future and the Future of Law (Sam Muller, et al., eds., Torkel Opsahl Academic Publishers, 2011).


Pitfalls of Measuring the Rule of Law, 3 Hague J. Rule of Law 269-80 (2011).

Empiricism and the Rising Incidence of Co-authorship in Law, 2011 U. Ill. L. Rev. 101-41 (2011) (with Thomas Miles).

Constitutional Endurance, in Comparative Constitutional Law (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011).

In Defense of Imperialism: The Rule of Law and the State-Building Project, in Nomos: Getting to the Rule of Law (James Fleming, ed., 2011).

Latin American Presidentialism in Comparative and Historical Perspective, 89 Texas L. Rev. 1707-31 (2011) (with Jose Cheibub and Zachary Elkins).

The Politics of Courts in Democratization, in Global Perspectives on the Rule of Law (James J. Heckman, Robert L. Nelson and Lee Cabatingan, eds., 2011).

Reputation, Information and the Organization of the Judiciary, 4:2 Journal of Comparative Law 226-54 (2011) (with Nuno Garoupa).

On the Evasion of Executive Term Limits, 52 Wm and Mary L. Rev. 1807-72 (2011) (with James Melton and Zachary Elkins).

Lawrence Friedman’s Comparative Law in Law, in Society and History:  Essays on Themes in the Legal History and Legal Sociology of Lawrence M. Friedman 52-64 (Robert Gordon and Morton J. Horwitz, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2011).

The Politics of Constitutional Courts: Four Moments in Asia, Proceedings of Thammasat University Conference on Law in a Changing World, 2011.

Constitutional Specificity: Some Preliminary Investigations in Future of Comparative Study of Law (Chuo University Press, 2011).

Eastphalia and East Asian Regionalism, 44 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 859-77 (2010).

Written Constitutions and the Administrative State: On the Constitutional Character of Administrative Law, in Comparative Administrative Law 117-27 (Susan Rose-Ackerman and Peter Lindseth, eds., Edward Elgar, 2010).

Constitutional Specificity, Unwritten Understandings and Constitutional Agreement, in Constitutional Topography: Values and Constitutions 66-93 (Andras Sajo and Renata Utz, eds., 2010).

How Does International Law Work? in Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research 753 -82 (Peter Cane and Herbert Kritzer, eds., 2010)  (with Gregory Shaffer).

Subconstitutionalism, 62 Stanford L. Rev. 1583 (2010) (with Eric Posner).

National Courts, Domestic Democracy, and the Evolution of International Law: A Reply to Eyal Benvenisti and George Downs , 20:4 European Journal of International Law 1021-26 (2010).

Studying Japanese Law Because it’s There, 58 American Journal of Comparative Law 15-25  (2010).

Public Choice and Constitutional Design, in Handbook of Public Choice (Daniel Farber and Anne Joseph O’Connell, eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2010).


The Arbitrator as Agent: Why Deferential Review is not Always Pro-Arbitration, 77 U. Chicago L. Rev. 1013-26 (2010) [translated into Chinese and published in 123 Arbitration and Law 86-103, CIETAC, 2012).

Eastphalia as a Return to Westphalia, 17 Indiana J. Global Leg. Studies 27-45 (2010).

Judicial Independence in East Asia: Implications for China, in Judicial Independence in China (Randall Peerenboom, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2010).


Economic Analysis and Comparative Law, in Cambridge Companion to Comparative Law (Mauro Bussani, ed., 2009) (with Nuno Garoupa).

Judicial Audiences and Reputation: Perspectives from Comparative Law 47 Colum. J. Transnat’l L. 451-90 (2009) (with Nuno Garoupa).

The Constitutional Court and the Judicialization of Korean Politics, in New Courts in Asia (Andrew Harding, et al eds., Routledge 2009), reprinted in Public Law in East Asia (Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2013).

The Relationship between Constitutional and International Devices to Protect Minority Rights, Journal of the Center for Minority Studies, Kansai University (2009).

Ancillary Powers of Constitutional Courts, 87(7) Texas L. Rev.1432-61 (2009) (with Zachary Elkins).

Constitutional Afterlife: The Continuing Impact of Thailand’s Post-Political Constitution, 7(1) International Journal of Constitutional Law 83-105 (2009), reprinted in Public Law in East Asia (Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2013).

Does the Process of Constitution-Making Matter? 5 Annual Review of Law and Social Science 201-24 (2009) (with Zachary Elkins and Justin Blount).

Guarding the Guardians: Judicial Councils and Judicial Independence, 57 American Journal of Comparative Law 201-32 (2009) (with Nuno Garoupa).

International Delegation and State Disaggregation, 20(3) Constitutional Political Economy 323-40 (2009).

The Clash of Commitments at the International Criminal Court, 9 Chicago Journal of International Law 499-514  (2009).

Constitutional Courts in East Asia: Understanding Variation, Journal of Comparative  Law 3(2): 80-100 (2008), reprinted in Constitutional Courts: A Comparative Study (Andrew Harding and Peter Leyland, Wildy, eds., Simmons and Hill Publishing, 2009) &  reprinted in Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014).

The Effects of Liberalization on Litigation: Notes Toward a Theory in the Context of Japan, 8 Wash U. Global Stud. L. Rev. 303-15 (2009), reprinted in Law and Society in East Asia (Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2013).

The Judicialization of Administrative Governance: Causes, Consequences and Limits, in Administrative Law and Governance in Asia: Comparative Perspectives 1-20 (Tom Ginsburg and Albert Chen, eds., Routledge University Press, 2009).

Citizen as Founder: Public Participation in Constitutional Approval, 81 Temple U. L. Rev. 361-82 (2008) (with Justin Blount and Zachary Elkins) (published in Spanish in 1 Rivista Latinoamerica de Politica Comparada 119-53 (2008).

Military Occupations and their Constitutional Residue, 19-2 APSA-CP Newsletter 7-10 (2008).

The Comparative Law and Economics of Judicial Councils, 27(1) Berkeley Journal of International Law 53-83 (2008) (with Nuno Garoupa).

Administrative Law and the Judicial Control of Agents in Authoritarian Regimes, in Rule By Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes (Tom Ginsburg and Tamir Moustafa, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2008).

Introduction: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes, in Rule By Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes 1-22 (Tom Ginsburg and Tamir Moustafa, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2008) (co-authored with Tamir Moustafa).

The Politics of Transparency in Japanese Administrative Law, in Japanese Law in Transition (Daniel Foote, ed., University of Washington Press, 2008).


Symposium Introduction: Public International Law and Economics 2008 U. Ill. L. Rev. 101-37 (2008) (with Anne van Aaken and Christoph Engel).

Commitment and Diffusion: Why Constitutions Incorporate International Law, 2008 U. Ill. L. Rev. 201-38 (2008) (with Svitlana Chernykh and Zachary Elkins).

Baghdad, Tokyo, Kabul: Constitution-making in Occupied States, 49 William and Mary Law Review 1139-78 (2008) (with Zachary Elkins and James Melton).

The Global Spread of Judicial Review, in Oxford Handbook of Law and Politics (Keith Whittington and Daniel Keleman, eds., 2008).

Lessons for Democratic Transitions: Case Studies from Asia, Orbis (Dec. 2007).

Odious Debt and Democratization, 70 Law and Contemporary Problems 115-36 (2007) (with Thomas Ulen).

Gobierno Judicial y Consejo Judiciales: una Mirada desde el Derecho y law Economía, in Reforma Al Poder Judicial: Gobierno Judicial, Corte Suprema y Gestión 41-75 (José Francisco García, et al., eds. 2007) (with Nuno Garoupa).

Law and the Liberal Transformation of the Northeast Asian Legal Complex in Korea and Taiwan, in Fighting for Political Freedom: Comparative Studies of the Legal Complex and Political Liberalism 43- 63 (Terrence Halliday, Lucien Karpik and Malcolm Feeley, eds., Hart Publishing, 2007).

What We Know and What We Don’t Know About Law and Economic Development, in Research in Institutional Economics (Shao-an Huang, ed., Beijing: Economic Science Press, 2007) (in Chinese).

Irrational War and Constitutional Design: A Reply to Professors Nzelibe and Yoo, 27 Mich. J. Int’l L. 1239-59 (2006) (with Paul Diehl), excerpted in Thomas M. Franck, Michael J. Glennon and Sean Murphy, Foreign Relations and National Security Law (3rd edition).

Locking in Democracy: Constitutions, Commitment and International Law, 38 NYU J. Int’l L. and Politics 707-59 (2006).

Takao Tanase, Japanese Litigiousness and “Taking Kawashima Seriously,” Proceedings from the 2005 Sho Sato Conference in Honor of Takao Tanase, available  at http://www.law.berkeley.edu/centers/ilr/pub_sho_sato_2005/ (2006).

The Unreluctant Litigant? Japan’s Turn Toward Litigation, 35 Journal of Legal Studies 31-62 (2006) (with Glenn Hoetker), excerpted in The Japanese Legal System (Curtis Milhaupt, Mark Ramseyer and Mark West, eds., 2006), reprinted in Emerging Concepts of Rights in Japanese Law (Laurent Mayali and Harry Scheiber, eds., Berkeley, 2007).

The Warren Court in East Asia: An Essay in Comparative Law, in The Warren Court: A Retrospective (Harry Scheiber, ed., University of California Institute of Governmental Studies, 2006).

The Regulation of Regulation, in Corporate Governance in Context: Corporations, States and Markets in Europe, Japan and the U.S. 321-38 (Eddy Wymersch, Hideki Kanda, Harald Baum and Klaus Hopt., eds., Oxford University Press, 2006).

International Judicial Lawmaking, in International Conflict Resolution 155-82 (Stefan Voigt, Max Albert, and Dieter Schmitchen, eds., Mohr Siebeck, 2005).

Constitutional Engineering in Taiwan: The Implications of Global Trends, Taiwan Law Society (2005).

Beyond Judicial Review: Ancillary Powers of Constitutional Courts, in Institutions and Public Law: Comparative Approaches 225-44 (Peter Lang Publishing, 2005).

The State of Sovereignty in Southeast Asia, 99 American Society of International Law Proceedings 419 (2005).

Bounded Discretion in International Judicial Lawmaking, 45 Virginia Journal of International Law 631-73 (2005).

International Substitutes for Domestic Institutions, 25 International Review of Law and Economics 107 (2005).

Constitutional Courts, in Encyclopedia of Law and Society (David S. Clark, ed., Sage Publications, 2005).

Mongolia, in Handbook of Politics (Neal Tate, ed.) (2005).

Adjudicating in Anarchy: An Expressive Theory of International Dispute Resolution 45 William and Mary Law Review 1229 (2004) (with Richard McAdams).

The Market for Entry-Level Associates, 31 Florida State Law Review 909 (2004) (with Jeffrey A Wolf).

Democracy, Markets and Doomsaying: Review Essay on Amy Chua’s World on Fire, 22 Berkeley Journal of International Law 310 (2004).

Transforming Legal Education in Japan and Korea, 22 Pennsylvania State International Law Review 433 (2004).

The Culture of Arbitration, 36 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 1335 (2003).

East Asian Regulatory Informalism: Implications for Post-Communist Countries, in Law and Informal Practices: The Post-Communist Experience (Marina Kurkchiyan and Denis Galligan, eds., Oxford University Press, 2003).

System Change?  A New Perspective on Japan’s Administrative Procedures Law, in The Multiple Worlds of Japanese Law, supra, reprinted in Zeitschrift für Japanisches Recht, Heft 13 (2002).

Becoming an International Arbitrator: Qualifications, Disclosures, Conduct and Removal, in The Practitioners Handbook of International Arbitration and Mediation (Rufus V. Rhoades, et al., ed., Juris Publishing 2002) (with Richard M. Mosk).

Ways of Criticizing Public Choice: Empiricism and the Use of Theory in Legal Scholarship, 2002 University of Illinois Law Review 1139 (2002), reprinted in Public Choice and Public Law (Daniel Farber ed., 2007) and Foundations of Law and Economics (Robert Cooter and Francesco Parisi, eds., 2009).

Confucian Constitutionalism? Globalization and Judicial Review in Korea and Taiwan, 27:4 Law and Social Inquiry 763-800 (2002).

Comparative Administrative Procedure: Evidence from Northeast Asia, 13:3 Constitutional Political Economy 247-64 (2002).

Constitutional Courts in New Democracies: Understanding Variation in East Asia, 2:1 Global Jurist Advances, Article 4, available at http://www.bepress.com/gj/advances/vol2/iss1/art4 (2002).

Economic Analysis and the Design of Constitutional Courts, 3 Theoretical Inquiries in Law 49 (Jan. 2002) (translated into Rumanian and published in Cluj, 2004).

Dismantling the Developmental State? Administrative Procedure Reform in Japan and Korea, 49 American Journal of Comparative Law 585 (Fall 2001).

When Courts and Politics Collide: Mongolia’s Constitutional Crisis, 14 Columbia Journal of Asian Law 309 (Spring 2001) (with G. Ganzorig), reprinted in Public Law in East Asia (Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2013).

Evidentiary Privileges in International Arbitration, 50 International and Comparative Law Quarterly 345 (April 2001) (with Richard M. Mosk).

In Defense of Japanese Law, in The Multiple Worlds of Japanese Law, supra, reprinted in Zeitschrift für Japanisches Recht, Heft 12, 2001.

Does Law Matter for Economic Development? Evidence from East Asia (Review), 34: 3 Law and Society Review 829-56 (2000) (in Chinese).

Nationalism, Elites and Mongolia’s Rapid Transformation, in Mongolia in the Twentieth Century: Landlocked Cosmopolitan (Stephen Kotkin and Bruce A. Elleman, eds., 1999).

Dissents in International Arbitration, in Liber Amicorum Bengt Broms (Helsinki: Finnish International Law Association, 1999) (with Richard M. Mosk).

Division of Powers in the European Union Constitution, in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Law and Economics (P. Newman, ed., 1998) (with Robert Cooter).

Comparing Judicial Discretion in Industrial Democracies, in European Constitutional Law and Economics (K. Schmidtgen and R. Cooter, eds., 1997) (with Robert Cooter).

Constitutionalism and Human Rights, in Mongolia in Mongolia in Transition (O. Bruun and O. Odgaard, eds.1996) (with G. Ganzorig).

Comparing Judicial Discretion: An Empirical Test of Economic Models, 16 International Review of Law and Economics 295 (1996) (with Robert Cooter), reprinted in Constitutional Political Economy (Stefan Voigt, ed., 2003).

Between Russia and China: Political Reform in Mongolia, 35 Asian Survey 459 (1995).

The Transformation of Legal Institutions in Mongolia 1990-1993, 12 Issues & Studies: A Journal of Chinese and International Affairs 77 (1994).

Buddhism and Revolution in Southeast Asia, Undergraduate Journal of Asian Studies (1989).

Tom's articles may be found online at SSRN, academia.edu, bepress, ResearchGate, and Chicago Unbound

Accepted and Published Articles and Book Chapters