chapter  4
The law reform olympics: measuring the effects of law reform in transitional economies
Pages 23

The catalyst for this chapter was a brief conversation in Mongolia. My law school colleague, Professor Anita Ramasastry, had worked extensively on commercial law indicators for transition economies in Eastern Europe (Ramasastry, 2002). She asked whether Japanese corporate law allows for cumulative voting (designed to give minority shareholders some prospect of electing a company director of their choice). The answer is, ‘Of course – American-influenced reforms to Japanese corporate law introduced cumulative voting in 1953. They have seldom, if ever, been used.’1 This prompted me to wonder about Mongolia. During our visit in 2000, we observed a largely nomadic population; an economy with no visible means of support; government in the hands of a few elite families; and – as far as we could tell – a very low incidence of incorporated private enterprise. Much of the official development assistance (ODA) flow from sources such as the US, Japan and Germany was being used to fund infrastructure projects and to explore possible extraction of mineral wealth. In this context, to apply a set of corporate law indicators predicated on a different stage of capitalism and very different forms of social organization seemed problematic.