Benjamin van Rooij

Professor of Law

John S. and Marilyn Long Professor of U.S.-China Business and Law
Director, UCI Long U.S.-China Institute
Joint appointment in Criminology, Law and Society, School of Social Ecology

Co-Editor, Regulation and Governance

Editor in Chief, China Law and Society Review

Benjamin van Rooij's image

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


Prof. van Rooij’s researches implementation of law. Part of his work addresses how citizens develop grievances and claims and how this shapes the way they mobilize rights. Most of his research centers on how legal rules shape individual and organizational behavior. Here he draws on the broader social and behavioral science to understand the processes of compliance, as well as the assumptions lawyers have about the behavioral effects of law. He uses innovative fieldwork data both to seek improvement to persistent implementation problems as well as to contribute to existing regulatory, criminological and socio-legal theories.

Fields of law studied include environmental law, land law, labor law, food safety law, and taxation. His work has appeared in the The New York TimesThe Huffington Post, National Public Radio, Law and Human Behavior, Law & PolicyLaw & Social Inquiry, and Regulation & Governance.

Prof. van Rooij has served as an adviser to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Security Council, the Dutch Prime Minister, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment.

Current Courses:
Legal Profession I
Prior Courses:

Justice and Development in China, Behavioral Analysis: Law Enforcement and Compliance, 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

Recent Honors

  • Awarded the Association of American Law School (AALS) award for best paper on East-Asian Law and Society, for “McMorrow, Judith, Sida Liu, and Benjamin Van Rooij. "Lawyer Discipline in an Authoritarian Regime: Empirical Insights from Zhejiang Province, China." Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics  (2017).
  • Short-listed (1 of 4) for the Vermeer Prize for best articles in China Information for “Yan, Huiqi, Benjamin van Rooij, and Jeroen van der Heijden. "The Enforcement–Compliance Paradox: Implementation of Pesticide Regulation in China." China Information 30, no. 209-231 (2016): 1-23.”
  • Keynote Speaker at the 6th Bi-annual Conference of Standing Group on Regulatory Governance of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR)
  • Prof. van Rooij wins inaugural annual John and Vivian Sabel Award for best article published in The Journal of Contemporary China

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