Professor Andrzej Rapaczynski

Andrzej Rapaczynski

  • Daniel G. Ross Professor Emeritus of Law and Joseph Solomon Professor Emeritus of Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning

J.D., Yale University, 1982
Ph.D., Columbia University, 1974
B.A. (equivalent), University of Warsaw, 1968

Areas of Specialty

Constitutional Law
Trusts and Estates
Institutional Economics
Political Philosophy

A renowned authority on institutional economics, Andrzej Rapacznski works at the intersection of law, economics, philosophy, and political theory and has published in the areas of constitutional law, institutional economics, and political philosophy. He is co-founder of Project Syndicate, one of the world’s foremost publishers of commentary and analysis by distinguished economic, political, and cultural experts; business leaders; and civic activists. 

With an interdisciplinary background, Rapaczynski is known for his research on the post-communist transition in Eastern Europe. He co-authored several books on the subject, including Capitalism With a Comrade’s Face: Studies in the Postcommunist Transition and Privatization in Eastern Europe: Is the State Withering Away? He served as an expert adviser to the parliaments of Poland and the Russian Federation, helping draft new constitutions and advised a number of governments on their privatization policies. 

Before joining the Columbia Law School faculty in 1982, Rapaczynski was an assistant professor of philosophy at Yale University. He has also taught at the University of Tokyo and Princeton University, and he has been a research professor of economics at Central European University in Prague and Budapest.


Books and Chapters

  • “Entrepreneurship in Europe and the United States: Security, Finance, and Accountability,” (with Roman Frydman and Omar Khan), Perspectives on the Performance of the Continent’s Economies, (Phelps, E. and H-W. Sinn, eds.), MIT Press, 2011
  • “Why Ownership Matters? Entrepreneurship and the Restructuring of Enterprises in Central Europe,” (with Roman Frydman and Marek Hessel), Corporate Governance Lessons from Transition Economies, (Fox, Merritt and Heller, Michael, eds.), Princeton University Press, 2006
  • “The Role of the State and the Market in Establishing Property Rights,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 10, no. 2, 1996; reprinted in Law and Economic Development, (H.B. Schaefer and A.V. Raja, eds.), Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 2006
  • “Can Constitutions Protect Private Property Against Governmental Predation?” in Enrico Colombatto, The Elgar Companion to the Economics of Property Rights, Edward Elgar Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, 2004
  • “The Limits of Discipline: Ownership and Hard Budget Constraints in the Transition Economies,” (with Roman Frydman, Cheryl Gray, and Marek Hessel), The Economics of Transition, 8, 2000
  • Capitalism With a Comrade’s Face; Studies in the Postcommunist Transition, (with Roman Frydman and Kenneth Murphy), Central European University Press, Budapest, London, New York, 1998
  • Privatization in Eastern Europe: Is the State Withering Away?, (with Roman Frydman), Central European University Press, Budapest, London, New York, 1994, (translated into Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian, and Lithuanian)
  • The Privatization Process in Central Europe, (with Roman Frydman, John Earle, et al.), Central European University Press, Budapest, London, 1993 (“Choice” Magazine’s Outstanding Academic Book Award for 1993; translated into Serbian, Polish, Romanian, and Ukrainian)
  • Nature and Politics; Liberalism in the Philosophies of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, Cornell University Press, 1987


  • “The Moral Significance of Economic Life,” Capitalism and Society, Vol. 8, (2) 2013
  • “When Does Privatization Work? The Impact of Private Ownership on Corporate Performance in the Transition Economies,” (with Roman Frydman, Cheryl Gray, and Marek Hessel), Quarterly Journal of Economics, Nov., 1999
  • “Constitutional Politics in Poland; A Report on the Constitutional Committee of the Polish Parliament,” 58 Chicago Law Review, 1991
  • “The Ninth Amendment and the Unwritten Constitution: The Problems of Constitutional Interpretation,” 64 Chicago-Kent Law Review, 1988 (reprinted in The Rights Retained by the People; The History and Meaning of the Ninth Amendment, volume 2), (R. Barnett, ed.), George Mason University Press, Fairfax, Va, 1993
  • “From Sovereignty to Process: The Jurisprudence of Federalism After Garcia,” 1985 Supreme Court Review
  • “Locke’s Conception of Property and the Principle of Sufficient Reason,” Journal of the History of Ideas 42, 1981