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Katharina Pistor

  • Edwin B. Parker Professor of Comparative Law
  • Full-time faculty

J.S.D., University of Munich, Faculty of Law, 1998
M.P.A., Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government, 1994
Assessor, State of Hamburg, Second State Examination, 1992
LL.M., University of London, 1989
J.D., University of Freiburg, first state examination in law, 1988

Fields of study
  • Company, commercial and transaction law
  • International Law and Comparative Law
areas of expertise

Comparative law
Comparative company law and governance
Governing financial systems
Law and development

Katharina Pistor is a leading researcher and author on the topics of corporate governance, money and finance, property rights, comparative law and legal institutions.

Pistor is the author or co-author of nine books. Your latest book, The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality , examines how assets such as land, private debt, corporate organizations or knowledge are converted into capital through contract law, property rights, collateral law, and fiduciary, corporate and bankruptcy law. The Code of Capital was from the. awarded as one of the best books of 2019 Financial Times and Business Insider.

Pistor publishes frequently in legal and social science journals. In her most recent essay, From Territorial to Monetary Sovereignty in the Journal of Theoretical Studies in Law (2017) she argued that the rise of a global monetary system implies a new definition of sovereignty: control of money. She has worked in the editorial offices of the Journal for Institutional Economics , Review of the law of European business organization , American Journal of Comparative Law , and Columbia Journal for European Law.

Pistor is a prominent commentator on cryptocurrencies and testified before Congress about the lack of regulatory oversight of the proposed international cryptocurrencies. As director of the Center on Global Legal Transformation, Pistor leads the center's work of developing research projects and organizing conferences to examine how the law shapes global relationships and how it, in turn, changes the law.

Before joining Columbia Law School in 2001, Pistor held teaching and research positions at Harvard Law School, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Law in Hamburg. She was visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, New York University Law School, Frankfurt University, London School of Economics and Oxford University.

Pistor is a research fellow at the Center for Economic Policy Research and was Principal Investigator of the Global Finance and Law Initiative (2011–2013) and a member of the Board of Directors (2011–2014) and a 2019 Fellow of the European Corporate Governance Institute. In 2015 she was elected a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences.

In 2012 she was a co-recipient (with Martin Hellwig) of the Max Planck Research Prize on International Financial Regulation and in 2014 she received the Allen & Overy Prize for the best working paper on law from the European Corporation Governance Institute. She is also the recipient of research grants from the Institute for New Economic Thinking and the National Science Foundation.


  • The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality , Princeton University Press, 2018
  • Regulatory skills (with Fabrizio Cafaggi) in Journal of Regulation and Governance , 2015
  • Legal Institutionalism: Capitalism and the Constitutive Role of Law (mit Simon Deakin, David Gindis, Geoffrey Hodgson und Kainan Huang) in Journal of Comparative Economics , 2014
  • Law in Finance (editor's introduction to the special issue of the same name) in Journal of Comparative Economics , 2013
  • A legal theory of global finance in Journal of Comparative Economics , 2013
  • Governing Interdependent Financial Systems: Lessons from the Vienna Initiative in Journal of Globalization and Development , 2011
  • Global Network Finance: Institutional innovation in the world market in Journal of Comparative Economics , 2009
  • How the law affects lending (with Rainer Haselmann and Vikrant Vig) in Review of financial studies , 2009
  • Incomplete Law (with Chenggang Xu) in New York University Journal of International Law and Politics , 2003
  • Economic development, legality and the transplant effect (with Dan Berkowitz and Jean-François Richard) in European economic report , 2003
  • Control access to essential resources (with Olivier De Schutter, ed.), Columbia University Press, 2015

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