Arslan, Melike. "Legal Diffusion as Protectionism: The Case of the U.S. Promotion of Antitrust Laws." Review of International Political Economy (online first)

Abstract: Prior research on the global diffusion and harmonization of antitrust (competition) laws mainly focused on the motivations of countries newly adopting or reforming their national laws. This article instead inquires about the motivations of the powerful states promoting these laws internationally, primarily focusing on the United States. It finds that trade protectionist —rather than globalist— interests and ideas prompted the United States’ promotion of strong international antitrust norms in the 1990s. Analyzing Congressional documents and debates in the 1980s, it shows that American import-competing companies framed foreign industrial policies as cartelization to legitimize their demands for trade protections within the dominant framework of free markets and domestic antitrust laws. The political salience of this narrative in Congress contributed to the preparation of the 1988 Trade Laws and the 1990 trade negotiations with Japan, which formalized the United States’ preference for strong international antitrust norms during the 1990s. These findings highlight that, ironically, “anti-market” reasons can also motivate “pro-market” norm diffusion. 

Keywords: Legal norms, Diffusion, Antitrust laws, Global powers, Trade protectionism. 

Arslan, Melike. "Differentiating and connecting indicators: the quality and performance of law in the World Bank's Doing Business Project." International Journal of Law in Context 16, no. 1 (2020): 17-38.

Abstract: Scholars have long argued that transnational legal indicators (TLIs) suffer from significant validity problems. In response to such critiques, the World Bank (WB) reformed its Doing Business (DB) legal indicators in 2014. This paper evaluates two important results of this reform: the WB distinguished between the quality and performance (efficiency) of law indicators and also claimed that they are positively correlated. I argue that this distinction is based on two different utilitarian perspectives; therefore, these indicators try to quantify different aspects of laws. However, new empirical tests indicate that they are not correlated. The statistical tests on the DB Resolving Insolvency Indicators do not show any strong correlation, and the case of Turkey’s WB-led insolvency-law reform suggests that the developing countries can even incur efficiency losses from legal-quality improvements. Thus, this study demonstrates that the 2014 DB reform reproduced the validity problems inside the new distinctions and connections between its indicators, potentially creating new misconceptions for policy-makers.

Keywords: Legal indicators, the World Bank, legal reform, insolvency, Turkey

Carruthers, Bruce G., and Melike Arslan. "Sovereignty, law, and money: new developments." Annual Review of Law and Social Science 15 (2019): 521-538.

Abstract: Money has remained closely connected to political sovereignty even as polities changed from empires and kingdoms to dictatorships and democracies, and as money shifted from coin to paper and now to digital currency. Money constitutes a claim on value in exchange and a store and measure of value, so we consider the role law plays in these three articulations between money and value. We examine research on different instances of legal control over official currency, monetary innovations, standards of monetary measurement and valuation, counterfeiting, terror financing, and money laundering to show how the relationship between money and law has evolved in response to changes in international law, national sovereignty, and global markets.

Keywords: Legal tender, monetary standards, valuation, money laundering, counterfeiting, Bitcoin


Arslan, Melike. “Price Gouging During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Questions for Socio-Economic Research, Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) Blog (February 2022)

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Arslan, Melike. “Understanding Monopolization through Socio-Economic Research”, Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) Blog (April 2021)

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