Katharina Pistor

Michael I. Sovern Professor of Law
Columbia Law School

Katharina Pistor is Michael I. Sovern Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and Director of the Center on Global Legal Transformation. She previously taught at the Kennedy School of Government, and worked at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Private Law in Hamburg, Germany; she also serves on Columbia University’s Committee on Global Thought. Her research focuses on the development of legal institutions in the context of social and economic transformation. In the 1990s she worked predominantly on transition economies in Central and Eastern Europe, but has since expanded her research to other emerging markets and the global economy. Ongoing research projects include globalization and the transformation of law; comparative global finance; and the distributional effects of alternative regulatory regimes.

Recent publications: “Host’s Dilemma: Rethinking EU Banking Regulation in Light of the Global Crisis” (Festschrift für Hopt, 2010) “Global Network Finance” (Journal of Comparative Economics, 2009); and, with Curtis Milhaupt, “Law and Capitalism: What Corporate Crises Reveal about Legal Systems and Economic Development Around the World” (Chicago University Press, 2008).

My Additional Content

Who wields supreme power over the ECB? This column analyses the recent ruling by the German Constitutional Court that the ECB cannot act as lender of last resort. Although seemingly couched by the referral of this decision to the European Court of Justice, this is a bid for power and the...

When Greece’s sovereign-debt crisis threatened the euro’s survival, U.S. officials called their European counterparts to express bewilderment at their inability to resolve the issue. Now, the tables have turned, with American leaders on the receiving end of such calls. The most...

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About the interview

Without law and legal institutions, financial markets won't work. That's what economists discovered about 15 years ago, when former socialist countries turned towards capitalism. But economists still conceive of law too narrowly, mainly as a means to reduce transaction costs and protect investors. Katharina Pistor convenes scholars from across disciplines -- law, economics, and sociology -- to re-theorize the relationship between law and finance, from the ground up. The rational autonomous actor meets the socially embedded actor -- this is new economic thinking.

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Katharina Pistor, Michael I. Sovern Professor of Law, Columbia Law School, speaking at the breakout panel entitled "How Can We Create a Financial System That Is Socially Useful?" at the Institute for New Economic Thinking's (INET) Paradigm Lost Conference in Berlin. April 14, 2012. #inetberlin

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Discussion and Q&A at the breakout panel entitled "How Can We Create a Financial System That Is Socially Useful?" at the Institute for New Economic Thinking's (INET) Paradigm Lost Conference in Berlin. April 14, 2012. #inetberlin

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“You can’t understand finance if you don’t put law front and center.”

So says Katharina Pistor in her innovative keynote address at INET's False Dichotomies conference, which was co-hosted with the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo, Canada on November 16-17th, 2012.

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INET grantee Katharina Pistor speaks at INET's conference in Hong Kong on the changing of the guard in the world economy and on the most pressing economic issues of today. 

My Grants

Katharina Pistor, who directs the Center on Global Legal Transformation at Columbia Law School, was awarded a grant by the Institute for New Economic Thinking to launch the Global Finance and Law Initiative.