Dr B. van Rooij (1973) has been named professor of Law and Society at the University of Amsterdam's Faculty of Law.
Benjamin van Rooij’s work focuses on law and behaviour, in particular how legal rules do or don’t affect human and organisational conduct. Previously he studied this mainly in China, researching illegal environmental pollution in industry, improper rural land use, tax evasion by lawyers, pesticide use by farmers, unsafe working conditions in the construction trade and compliance practices in restaurants. His current work is broader and comparative in scope. One line of work addresses compliance at the micro-level studying the interaction between individual rule orientation, punishment, and social norms. Another line of inquiry looks at corporate cultures that sustain organization rule breaking. Here he seeks to understand how to assess and address these toxic corporate cultures, for instance by studying endemic violations at VW, BP and Wells Fargo. Finally, he also studies access to the law as well as the ways that ordinary citizens can invoke legal protections to stop and prevent injustice. Recently, Van Rooij completed a popular scientific publication on law and behaviour, explaining to a broader audience what behavioural science can teach us about law.
As professor of Law and Society, Van Rooij will systemically map the behavioural assumptions of lawyers who are tasked to change behaviour (prosecutors, regulators and compliance officers). He hopes to understand what biases and misconceptions about behavioural change these lawyers have in order to develop new forms of legal education and training that address build behavioural literacy. Van Rooij will teach courses on law and behaviour, introduction to law and qualitative research methods. He will also be setting up a Compliance Lab, where public and private actors can turn to academic staff as well as students for advice on compliance and enforcement issues.
Prior to this appointment, Van Rooij held the John S. and Marilyn Long Chair of US-China Law and Business at the University of California's Irvine School of Law since 2013, where he was also director of the cross-campus US-China Center and also the Compliance Lab. Van Rooij is the editor of the top-ranking interdisciplinary law journal Regulation and Governance as well as the founder of ComplianceNet, an international academic compliance research network. Alongside his academic work, Van Rooij also writes for a wider audience, with pieces appearing in the Huffington Post, the New York Times and National Public Radio (NPR). Van Rooij has served as adviser to the Dutch prime minister, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US National Security Council.