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Boston University School of Law




This essay reflects on Ran Hirschl’s book "Comparative Matters." Feeling that historical comparative law methodologies have been found wanting it looks to newer methods. For example, the critical approach to comparative law relies on comparison to expose the implicit biases and assumptions of the observer’s own system and to denounce the illusory and ideological nature of “legalism,” namely, the claim that law is both neutral and necessary. Comparative law and economics seeks to explain in precise terms the convergence of legal rules by using efficiency as a key metric. Comparative law and economics also gives a comparative twist to the notion of efficiency, showing that the same rule may be efficient in one system but not in another, because efficiency is a matter of fit in a larger institutional framework.

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