General Theory of Law and Development

58 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2017 Last revised: 25 Apr 2018

See all articles by Yong-Shik Lee

Yong-Shik Lee

The Law and Development Institute; Georgia State University - College of Law

Date Written: December 28, 2017


Although scholarship in law and development which explores the relationship between law and social and economic progress has evolved over the last four decades, this area of inquiry remains unfamiliar to many legal scholars, lawyers, and policy makers. Scholars have not yet been able to develop a theory that systematically explains the interrelationship between law and development, which would establish law and development as a robust and coherent academic field. This article attempts to fill this gap by presenting a general theory that defines the disciplinary parameters of law and development, and explains the mechanisms by which law impacts development. This article also demonstrates the validity of this general theory by applying it to an empirical case and also by explaining the development process of South Korea (1962-1996) under its analytical framework. The concept of development, which has traditionally been associated with developing countries, may also be extended to address economic problems in developed countries today.

Keywords: Law and Development, General Theory, Economic and Social Development, Law Reform, LFIs (law, legal frameworks, and institutions)

JEL Classification: K40, F63

Suggested Citation

Lee, Y.S., General Theory of Law and Development (December 28, 2017). Cornell International Law Journal, Vol. 50, No. 3 (2017), 415 - 472, Available at SSRN:

Y.S. Lee (Contact Author)

The Law and Development Institute ( email )

United States


Georgia State University - College of Law ( email )

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