Benjamin van Rooij

Professor of Law

John S. and Marilyn Long Professor of U.S.-China Business and Law
Academic Director, John S. and Marilyn Long U.S.-China Institute for Business and Law

Benjamin van Rooij's image

Regulatory theory, law enforcement, compliance, lawmaking, law and development, environmental law, Chinese law


Benjamin van Rooij is the John S. and Marilyn Long Professor of U.S.-China Business and Law and academic director of the John S. and Marilyn Long U.S.-China Institute for Business and Law. By affiliation he is Professor of Chinese Law and Regulation at the Faculty of Law at Amsterdam University and director of the Netherlands China Law Centre. Also he is honorary professor at Wuhan University School of Law and long-term visiting professor at Yunnan University School of Law. In 2010, he was visiting faculty at New York University School of Law as a member of the Hauser Global Faculty.

Prof. van Rooij's research focuses on implementation of law in comparative perspective. Since 2000 he has studied the implementability of legislation, regulatory law enforcement and compliance, and rights invocation and legal empowerment. A central theme is how implementation of law can be improved in the context of emerging markets where weak enforcement and widespread violations of law create a vicious circle undermining compliance. Using insights from sociology of law, criminology, political science and social psychology he uses anthropological methods to study compliance behavior and motivations and public and private enforcement practices. He uses innovative fieldwork data both to seek improvement to persistent implementation problems as well as to reorient existing regulatory, criminological and socio-legal theories that so far have yet to adapt to data from countries such as China.

Fields of law studies include environmental law, land law, labor law, food safety law, and taxation.

Prof. van Rooij has served as an adviser to the Dutch Prime Minister, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment.

Current Courses:

Behavioral Analysis: Law Enforcement and Compliance

Prior Courses

Access to Justice in China, Law, Governance and Development, Anthropology of Law, Law and Culture, Comparative Legal Analysis, Law and Politics in China, Pollution Regulation in Developing Countries

Recent Publications

  • “Regulation by Escalation: Unrest, Lawmaking, and Law Enforcement in China,” Law and Stability in China, edited by Susan Trevaskes and Elisa Nesossi. London: Edgar Elden, 2014 (forthcoming)
  • “Misguided Experimentation: Prosecutorial Public Interest Litigation against Pollution in China,” with Shi Yifan. Submitted for review as part of special edition (2013 draft manuscript)
  • “Deterrence without Enforcement, Dialogues with Chinese Lawyers About Tax Evasion and Compliance.” Working paper presented at the East Asia Law and Society Meeting, Shanghai, March 23, 2013 (2013)
  • “The Authoritarian Logic of Regulatory Pluralism, Understanding China's New Environmental Actors,” with Rachel Stern and Kathinka Fürst. Introduction to special edition submitted for review (2013 draft manuscript)
  • “Inflationary Trends in Law and Development,” with Pip Nicholson. Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law (forthcoming 2013)
  • “Environmental Law Enforcement Innovations in Industrialized Middle Income Countries,” with Lesley K. McAllister. Law and Development of Middle Income Countries, edited by Tom Ginsburg and Randall Peerenboom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014 (forthcoming)
  • “The Compensation Trap, Chinese Lessons About the Limits of Community Based Regulation (Working Paper),” with Anna Lora-Wainwright and Yunmei Wu. Pace Journal of Environmental Law (2012)
  • “The People's Regulation, Citizens and Implementation of Law in China,” Columbia Journal of Asian Law 25, No. 2 (2012)
  • “Bringing Justice to the Poor, Bottom-up Legal Development Cooperation,” Hague Journal on the Rule of Law 4, No. 02 (2012): 286-318

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