The Chicago School of Law and Economics Comes to Japan
Mark Ramseyer has been a leading force in bringing to bear the methods of Law and Economics to a continuing analysis of the Japanese legal and economic system. He has deliberately assumed an iconoclastic position in debunking a number of widely held beliefs about Japan. In this paper we analyse Ramseyer’s contribution and conclude that he has too frequently let ideological objectives interfere with what should be cool headed analysis. While asking many of the right questions he unfortunately has let a priori assumptions determine his answers. By doing so he has opened up the door for policy makers to rationalize their preconceived objectives based upon strained empirical interpretations. This is particularly dangerous given the increased trade negotiations within the Asia Pacific region including Japan. Such convoluted analysis creates the possibility for expedient public policy that can lead to inferior legal solutions dominating more productive legislation. This can be clearly seen in the case of consumer reations.
Keywords: Ramseyer, Japan, Law and Economics, Public Policy
Dr. Craig Farrell Freedman
Associate Professor, Economics Department, Macquarie University
Director - Centre for Japanese Economic Studies
Dr. Luke Nottage
Senior Lecturer, Sydney Law School, Sydney University