Distinguished Professor of Law in U.S.

Distinguished Professor of Law in U.S.

Katerina Linos is a Professor of Law at the Chicago Law School and at Berkeley University.

Her research and teaching interests include international law, comparative law, European Union law, employment law and health care law. To address questions in these fields, her work combines legal analysis with empirical methods.

Her research examines why law reforms and policy innovations spread around the world in waves. The conventional wisdom focuses on international elites and technocratic networks. Linos” book, The Democratic Foundations of Policy Diffusion, emphasizes a different set of actors: ordinary citizens and elected politicians. The book argues that politicians choose to follow certain international models to win domestic elections, and to persuade skeptical voters that their ideas are not radical, ill-thought-out experiments, but mainstream, tried-and-true solutions. The book combines public opinion experiments, election campaign data, legislative debates, and policy adoption patterns to document how international models generated domestic support for health, family, and employment law reforms across rich democracies.

The law and politics of the European Union are another key area of interest in Linos’ research. In Compliance with European Union Directives, she explores empirically why the most integrated international community we know, the European Union, stumbled in its efforts to harmonize the laws of its member states. In Path Dependence in Discrimination Law, she compares early race discrimination cases in the U.S., and early sex discrimination cases in the E.U., and illustrates how early doctrinal developments predict the success and failure of current national origin, age, disability, and sexual orientation claims in the two jurisdictions.

In 2012, Linos won a Hellman Family Fund Grant to investigate empirically whether government rhetoric espousing fundamental rights is accompanied by concrete actions. This project will examine the development and institutional design of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), government agencies established in over 100 countries to improve human rights enforcement. She will also explore whether courts can shape public opinion on the rights of immigrants, the uninsured, and other minority groups.

She won the 2014 Chadwick Alger prize as the best book on international organization and multilateralism, the 2014 Giovanni Sartori prize as the best book on qualitative methods, was reviewed by nine international law professors for an Opinio Juris symposium, and was selected among the best books of 2013 on Western Europe by Foreign Affairs.

Prior to joining the Boalt faculty, Linos was an International Law Fellow and Lecturer at Harvard Law School, where she had previously received her J.D. She also recently completed a Ph.D. in political science at Harvard, in parallel with a junior fellowship at the Harvard Society of Fellows.