A Theory of the Origin of Financial Regulation: How Legal Layers Shape International Financial Systems

  • Luca AmorelloEmail author
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 77)


The traditional literature on comparative law has never provided a comprehensive methodology for a comparative study of financial law. Although some research in this field has been made to quantify and qualify differences and similarities of national regulatory frameworks around the world, few studies have been devoted to exploring what lies behind the formal text of financial rules, i.e. the interplay of the “legal formants” that influence the construction of national and international financial laws and systems. The difficulty of building-up a scholarly methodology in this field is due to a variety of reasons, including the entangled nature of financial rules along with the mainstream opinion of economic sciences playing a major shaping role. But outlining a comprehensive methodology for comparative financial law studies appears today as compulsory. The multifaceted structure of financial markets across a multi-jurisdictional dimension requires deeper insights into how formal and informal rules set the landscape of the financial legal order. The comprehension of this dynamic interplay is in fact instrumental in examining how economic and legal doctrines, social sciences, political ideologies, and cultural frameworks originate and influence the evolution of international finance around the world. Drawing extensively from the scholarship of Mauro Bussani, this chapter seeks to fill this gap by proposing a theory of the origin of financial law. Starting from the analysis of risk and uncertainty as the main rationales of the financial legal framework, we discuss the legal layers underpinning its construction. Formal and informal institutions are equally shapers of financial orders while most of the financial rules originate and live ‘in the shadows’. Against this backdrop, we seek to shed some light upon the actual role played by technocrats and policymaking agencies in implementing these dynamic formants in modern societies. In doing so, we argue that financial law is just a by-product of “the very cultural framework in which it is embedded” while the evolution of global financial markets is deeply influenced by the geopolitical supremacy of the dominant cultures.


Comparative law Financial regulation Legal layers Geopolitics Risk Uncertainty Religion Ideology Technology Culture Social norms Education 



I gratefully thank Marta Infantino for providing precious comments and academic support.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton LLPLondonUK

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