Should We Adopt a ‘What Works’ Approach in Law and Development?

12 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2010

See all articles by Mariana Mota Prado

Mariana Mota Prado

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2009


This short article is part of an online symposium in which law and development scholars were invited to respond to a set of questions posed by the conference organizer. In response to the question “what is the future of law and development?”, this article discusses different approaches in law and development studies. First, it suggests that the “context matters” approach is helpful in understanding the limitations of the “toolkit” approach, but while it helps us understand what went wrong in failed attempt to promote institutional reforms, it fails to provide guidance for future improvements. Second, the article discusses a “what works” approach, which has been suggested by some of the participants of the symposium as a fruitful way to overcome the limits of the existing approaches. While this approach seem indeed very promising, this article argues that there are some issues that need to be considered before we adopt it as a panacea for the shortcomings of law and development studies.

Keywords: law and development, institutional reforms

Suggested Citation

Prado, Mariana Mota, Should We Adopt a ‘What Works’ Approach in Law and Development? (2009). Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 104, 2009, Available at SSRN:

Mariana Mota Prado (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5


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