Conceptualizing and Measuring the Rule of Law



Alejandro Ponce, The World Justice Project
Juan Botero, The World Justice Project

Date and Time

May 24, 2012 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



Open to Stanford faculty, students, staff, and visiting scholars.

RSVP required by 5PM May 23.


CISAC Conference Room


We present a new framework for conceptualizing and assessing the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice. This framework constitutes the backbone of the WJP Rule of Law Index® and is organized around nine basic concepts or factors: limited government powers; absence of corruption; order and security; fundamental rights; open government; effective regulatory enforcement; access to civil justice; effective criminal justice; and informal justice. These factors are further disaggregated into 52 sub-factors. We estimate numerical scores of these factors and sub-factors for a group of 66 countries and jurisdictions. These estimates are built from two novel data sources in each country: (1) a general population poll; and (2) qualified respondents’ questionnaires. All in all, the data contain more than 400 variables drawn from the assessments of over 66,000 people and 2,000 local experts. Our presentation will conclude with an overview of some highlights from Index data findings, as well as examples of ways in which the data have been applied in different contexts.

The World Justice Project (WJP) is an independent, non-profit organization that works to advance the rule of law for the development of communities of opportunity and equity worldwide. The WJP’s multinational and multidisciplinary efforts are aimed at: government reforms; development of practical programs on the ground in support of the rule of law; and increased awareness about the concept and impact of the rule of law. The Project has three complementary programs: Research and Scholarship, the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index, and mainstreaming practical on-the-ground programs to strengthen the rule of law.

Speaker Bio: 

Dr. Alejandro Ponce joined The World Justice Project as Senior Economist in 2009. He is a co-author of the WJP Rule of Law Index. Dr. Ponce has extensive experience in the development of cross-country indicators. Before joining the World Justice Project, he served as an Economist at the World Bank collaborating in the design of surveys to measure financial inclusion around the world. Earlier in his career, he worked as a consultant in the design of the index of judicial efficiency and regulation of dispute resolution as part of the Doing Business Indicators of the World Bank and served as Deputy Director for the Mexican Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV). Dr. Ponce has also conducted research on behavioral economics, financial inclusion and on the linkage between economic development and the rule of law. He holds a B.A. in Economics from ITAM inMexico, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University.

Speaker Bio: 

Mr. Juan Carlos Botero is The World Justice Project's Interim Executive Director and Director of the Rule of Law Index, where he has led the development of an innovative quantitative tool to measure countries’ adherence to the rule of law worldwide. Mr. Botero’s previous experience includes service as Chief International Legal Counsel of the Colombian Ministry of Commerce; Deputy-Chief Negotiator of the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement; Consultant for the World Bank; Associate Researcher atYaleUniversity; and Judicial Clerk at theColombian Constitutional Court. He has taught legal theory and comparative law at the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia and Universidad Privada Boliviana in Bolivia. His academic publications focus on the areas of rule of law, access to justice, labor regulation, and child labor. Mr. Botero is a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on the Rule of Law 2011. A national of Colombia, Mr. Botero holds a law degree from Universidad de los Andes and a Master of Laws from Harvard University. He is also a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) candidate at the Georgetown University Law Center.

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