"You will find it to be true, I think, so long as you remain deeply involved with the processes of your own imagination—not as alternative to what seems to be the reality of outward observation, not even as supplement to positive action and acquisition, because that's not the way in which the imagination can serve you best. What it can do is to serve as a sort of no man's land between that foreground of system and dogma, of positive action, for which you have been trained, and that vast background of immense possibility, of negation, which you must constantly examine, and to which you must never forget to pay homage as the source from which all creative ideas come."

Thank you, Josh Cohen, for this quote from Glenn Gould.


Charles F. Sabel
is the Maurice T. Moore Professor of Law and Social Science at Columbia Law School, a post he has held since 1995. He was formerly Ford International Professor of Social Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His most recent publications include Contract and Innovation: The Limited Role of Generalist Courts in the Evolution of Novel Contractual Forms, with Ronald J. Gilson and Robert E. Scott (New York University Law Review), New Modes of Pluralist Global Governance, with Gráinne de Búrca and Robert O. Keohane (Journal of International Law and Politics), Rethinking the Street-Level Bureaucrat: Tacit and Deliberate Ways Organizations Can Learn (Economy in Society: essays in honor of Michael J. Piore, MIT Press: 113-142), Dewey, Democracy and Democratic Experimentalism (Contemporary Pragmatism, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2012), and Experimentalism in the EU: Common ground and persistent differences, with Jonathan Zeitlin, (Regulation & Governance, Vol. 6, 2012, pp. 410-426).

Ph.D. in Government, Harvard University, 1978
A.B. in Social Studies, summa cum laude, Harvard College, 1969

Professional Experience
1995–Present Professor of Law and Social Science, Columbia Law School
2014–2015 Florence Rogatz Visiting Professor of Law, Yale Law School
1990–1995 Ford International Professor of Social Science in the Department of Political Science, M.I.T.
1987–1990 Professor of Social and Political Science in the Department of Political Science and the Program in Science, Technology, & Society, M.I.T.
1984–1987 Associate Professor of Social and Political Science and the Program in Science, Technology, & Society, M.I.T.
1977–1984 Ford International Assistant Professor of Social Science in the Program in Science, Technology, & Society, M.I.T.
1976 Research Associate at Max Planck Institut fur Erforschung der Lebensbedingungen der Wissenschaftlich-Technischen Welt, Starnberg, Federal Republic of Germany

PublicationsBooks, Articles & Presentations, Other
Papers2021, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 09, 08, 07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01, 1999, 98, 97



Patrick Bolton
Joshua Cohen
Gráinne de Búrca
Oliver Gerstenberg
Ronald J. Gilson
Gary Herrigel
Robert O. Keohane
  Peer Hull Kristensen
Richard M. Locke
Michael Piore
Joel Rogers
Robert E. Scott
William H. Simon
Jonathan Zeitlin

Charles F. Sabel
Professor of Law and Social Sciences
Jerome Greene Hall 929
435 West 116th Street New York, NY 10027 (Map)

Office Hours by Appointment Only
Emails to Professor Sabel should only concern his areas of work

Évita Yumul, Faculty Assistant
Jerome Greene Hall 800/2

All content © 2012-2020 Charles Sabel and respective authors


2021 & Forthcoming















  • Cohen, Joshua and Charles F. Sabel. "Extra Rempublicam, Nulla Justicia." Philosophy & Public Affairs, vol. 34, no. 2, 2006, pp. 147-175.
  • Sabel, Charles F. "A Real Time Revolution in Routines." The Firm as a Collaborative Community, edited by Charles C. Heckscher and Paul S. Adler, Oxford University Press, 2006, pp. 106-156; Organizational Studies, 2006, p. 110-113.
  • Sabel, Charles F. and William H. Simon. "Gaps and Hybrids." New Governance and Constitutionalism in Europe and the US edited by Gráinne De Búrca and Joanne Scott, Hart, 2006.





  • Sabel, Charles F. "Diversity, Not Specialization: The Ties that Bind the (New) Industrial District." Complexity and Industrial Clusters - Dynamics, Models, National Cases, edited by Alberto Quadrio Curzio and Marco Fortis, Physica-Verlag HD, 2002, pp. 107-122. In Italian: “Diversita, non specializzazione: i legami che uniscono il (nuovo) distretto industrial.” Complessita e Distretti Industriali - Dinamiche, Modelli, Casi Reali, Societa editrice il Mulino, 2002.





Books & Edited Volumes

  • 2020 Experimentalist Strategies for Governing Global Climate Change with David Victor, under review by Princeton University Press. Forthcoming.
  • 2013 Esperimenti di nuova democrazia. Tra globalizzazione e localizzazione, introduction by Riccardo Prandini (Rome: Armando, 2013). awarded the Premio Capri - S. Michele 2013
  • 2009 Experimentalist Governance in the European Union, Towards A New Architecture, with Jonathan Zeitlin (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).
  • 2001 Can We Put an End to Sweatshops? with Archon Fung and Dara O'Rourke (Boston, MA: Beacon Press).
  • 1997 World of Possibilities, with Jonathan Zeitlin (Cambridge, England and New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1997).
  • 1996 Local Partnerships and Social Innovation: Ireland. (Dublin: OECD).
  • 1995 Small and Medium-Size Enterprises with Arnaldo Bagnasco (London: Pinter, 1995).
  • 1994 PME et dveloppement conomique en Europe, with Arnaldo Bagnasco (Paris: La Dcouverte, 1994).
  • 1989 Strategie di riaggiustamento industriale, with Marino Regini (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1989).
  • 1984 The Second Industrial Divide: Possibilities for Prosperity, with Michael J. Piore (New York: Basic Books, 1984). Published in German, Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese translation.
  • 1982 Work and Politics: The Division of Labor in Industry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982). Published in German, Italian and Spanish translation.
  • 1978 Konomische Krisentendenzen im gegenwrtigen Kapitalismus, with Gernot Mller, Ulrich Rdel, Frank Stille, and Winfried Vogt (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 1978).

Articles & Presentations
  • 2017 "Regulation under Uncertainty: The Co-evolution of Industry and Regulation in the Norwegian Offshore Gas and Oil Industry", with Gary Herrigel and Peer Hull Kristensen, in Regulation and Governance, forthcoming 2017.
  • 2017 "The Management Side of Due Process in the Service-Based Welfare State", with William H. Simon, in Administrative Law from the Inside Out: Essays on Themes in the Work of Jerry L. Mashaw, Nicholas R. Parrillo, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  • 2016 "The Duty for Responsible Administration and the Problem of Police Accountability", with William H. Simon, in The Yale Journal on Regulation, Vol. 33, Issue 1, Winter 2016.
  • 2016 "An Evolutionary Approach to Governing Global Problems: Climate Policy After Paris", with David G. Victor, in Policy Analysis Brief, The Stanley Foundation, August 2016, pp. 1-16.
  • 2016 "Prologo: El Feliz accidente de las mesas ejecutivas", from Mesas Ejecutivas: Nueva Herramienta para la Diversificacion Productive en el Peru, Ministerio del la Produccion del Peru, July 2016, pp. 11-16.
  • 2015 "Governing Global Problems under Uncertainty: Making Bottom-Up Climate Policy Work", with David G. Victor, in Climactic Change, 2015, pp. 1-13.
  • 2015 "Due Process of Administration: The Problem of Police Accountability", with William H. Simon, in Yale Journal on Regulation, Vol. 33, Issue 1, 2015.
  • 2015 "Doing, Learning, Being: Some Lessons Learned from Malaysia’s National Transformation Program", with Luke Jordan, commissioned by staff of the World Bank Group and funded by the CIIP.
  • 2014 "Global Experimentalist Governance", with Grainne de Burca and Robert O. Keoahne, in British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 44, No. 03, July 2014.
  • 2014 "On Richard M. Locke, The Promise and Limits of Private Power: Promoting Labor Standards in a Global Econmoy", in Socio-Economic Review, Vol. 12, Issue 1, Janurary 2014.
  • 2013 “How Government Can Learn to Deliver,” presented at Making Growth Happen: Implementing Policies for Competitive Industries, The World Bank, Washington, DC, October 16, 2013.
  • 2013 "Contract and Innovation: The Limited Role of Generalist Courts in the Evolution of Novel Contractual Forms", with Ronald J. Gilson and Robert E. Scott, in New York University Law Review, Vol. 88, No. 1, April 2013. pp. 170-215.
  • 2013 "New Modes of Pluralist Global Governance", with Gráinne de Búrca and Robert O. Keohane, in Journal of International Law and Politics , Vol. 45, No. 1, 2013.
  • 2012 "Rethinking the Street-Level Bureaucrat: Tacit and Deliberate Ways Organizations Can Learn", in Economy in Society: essays in honor of Michael J. Piore, MIT Press: 113-142.
  • 2012 "Dewey, Democracy and Democratic Experimentalism", in Contemporary Pragmatism, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2012.
  • 2012 "Experimentalism in the EU: Common ground and persistent differences", with Jonathan Zeitlin, in Regulation & Governance, Vol. 6, 2012, pp. 410 - 426.
  • 2012 "Systems-Level Issues", in Child Maltreatment Research, Policy, and Practice for the Next Decade Workshop Summary, The National Academies Press (2012): 81-94.
  • 2012 "Contextualizing Regimes: Institutionalization as a Response to the Limits of Interpretation and Policy Engineering", with William Simon, in the Michigan Law Review, Vol. 110, No. 7, May 2012.
  • 2012 "Individualised service provision and the new welfare state: Are there lessons from Northern Europe for developing countries?", in Promoting Inclusive Growth, Challenges and Policies, eds. Luiz de Mello and Mark A. Dutz, OECD Publishing, 2012.
  • 2012 "Experimentalist Governance", with Jonathan Zeitlin in The Oxford Handbook of Governance, ed. David Levi-Faur, Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • 2012 "Self-Discovery as a Coordination Problem: Lessons from a Study of New Exports in Latin America", introduction to the edited volume Export Pioneeers in Latin America, published by the IDB and co-edited with with Eduardo Fernandez-Arias, Ricardo Hausmann, Andres Rodriquez-Clare and Ernesto Hugo-Stein, 2012.
  • 2011 "Experimentalism in Transnational Governance: Emergent Pathways and Diffusion Mechanism," with Jonathan Zeitlin, paper presented at the panel on “Global Governance in Transition”, annual conference of the International Studies Association, Montreal, March 16-19, 2011.
  • 2011 "Individualized Service Provision in the New Welfare State: Lessons from Special Education in Finland," with AnnaLee Saxenian, Reijo Miettinen, Peer Hull Kristensen and Jarkko Hautamäki. Special Report prepared for SITRA, December 2011.
  • 2011 "Minimalism and Experimentalism in the Adminstrative State," Georgetown Law Journal, Volume 100, Number 1, November 2011.
  • 2011 "The New Argonauts and the Rise of Venture Capital in the ‘Periphery’", with AnnaLee Saxenian, Handbook of Research on Innnovation and Entrepeneurship, Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • 2010 "Braiding: The Interaction of Formal and Informal Contracting in Theory, Practice and Doctrine", with Robert Scott and Ronald Gilson, Columbia Law Review, Volume 110, Issue 6, October 2010.
  • 2010 "Constitutionalising an Overlapping Consensus: The ECJ and the Emergence of a Coordinate Constitutional Order", with Oliver Gerstenberg, European Law Journal, Volume 16, Issue 5, September 2010.
  • 2009 "Legal Accountability in the Service-Based Welfare State: Lessons from Child Welfare Reform", with Kathleen Noonan and William H. Simon, Law & Social Inquiry, Volume 34, Issue 3, Summer 2009.
  • 2009 "Flexicurity", with Joshua Cohen, Pathways, Spring 2009.
  • 2009 "Contracting for Innovation: Vertical Disintergration and Interfirm Collaboration", with Ronald J. Gilson and Robert Scott, Columbia Law Review, Vol. 109, No. 3, April 2009.
  • 2008 "A Fugitive Success: Finland's Economic Future," with AnnaLee Saxenian, report for Finnish National Fund for Research and Development.
  • 2008 "The National Healthcare Quality Act: A Legislative Proposal," with Robert Post and William Simon, (draft for SEIU).
  • 2008 "Roepke Lecture in Economic Geography, Venture Capital in the “Periphery”: The New Argonauts, Global Search, and Local Institution Building, with AnnaLee Saxenian.
  • 2008 "Learning from Difference: The New Architecture of Experimentalist Governance in the EU", with Jonathan Zeitlin in European Law Journal, Vol. 14, No. 3, May 2008, pp. 271-327.
  • 2007 "Bootstrapping Development: Rethinking the Role of Public Intervention in Promoting Growth, On Capitalism, ed. Victor Lee and Richard Swedberg". Stanford Univ. Press (2007): 305-341.
  • 2007 "Rolling Rule labor standards: Why their time has come, and why we should be glad of it," Protecting Labour Rights as Human Rights: Present and Future of International Supervision, November 2006 Geneva International Colloquium (2007): 257-272.
  • 2007 "Reconfiguring Industrial Policy: A Framework with an Application to South Africa", with Ricardo Hausmann and Dani Rodrik.
  • 2006 "International Migration of Talent, Diaspora Networks, and Development: Overview of Main Issues", with Yevgeny Kuznetsov, in Diaspora Networks and the International Migration of Skills, Yevgeny Kuznetsov, ed., World Bank Institute.
  • 2006 "Extra Rempublicam, Nulla Justitia", with Joshua Cohen, Philosophy & Public Affairs, vol. 34, no. 2 (Spring 2006), pp. 147-175.
  • 2006 "A Real Time Revolution in Routines", forthcoming in The Firm as a Collaborative Community, Charles Heckscher and Paul Adler, eds., Oxford University Press, 2006; forthcoming in Organizational Studies, 2006.
  • 2006 "Gaps and Hybrids‚" with William Simon, in Grainne de Burca and Joanne Scott, eds, New Governance and Constitutionalism in Europe and the US, Oxford: Hart Publishing (2006).
  • 2005 "Globalisation, New Public Services, Local Democracy: What's the Connection?" in Local Governance and the Drivers of Growth, Paris: OECD, pp. 111-131.
  • 2005 "Global Democracy?" with Joshua Cohen, NYU Journal of International Law and Politics, vol. 37, no. 4 (Summer 2005), pp. 763-797.
  • 2005 "Anomalous Administrative Law and Traces of Global Government: A Possibility for Democracy?" with Joshua Cohen, presented at the NYU conference 'Global Administrative Law: National and International Accountability Mechanisms for Global Regulatory Governance', April 2005.
  • 2005 "Democracy Beyond the State", with Joshua Cohen, presented at University of Washington at St. Louis conference 'Democracy and Global Justice', March 2005.
  • 2004 "Districts on the Move: Note on the Tedis Survey of the Industrialization of District Firms", presented at 'Local Governance and Production' conference in Turin, December 2004.
  • 2004 "Bootstrapping Development: Rethinking the Role of Public Intervention in Promoting Growth", paper presented at the Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism Conference, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, October 8-10, 2004.
  • 2004 "Beyond Principal-Agent Governance: Experimentalist Organizations, Learning and Accountability", draft discussion paper prepared for WRR meeting, Amsterdam (May 10-14, 2004), in Ewald Engelen & Monika Sie Dhian Ho (eds.), De Staat van de Democratie. Democratie voorbij de Staat. WRR Verkenning 3 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press) pp. 173-195.
  • 2004 "Sovereignty and Solidarity: EU and US," with Joshua Cohen, in Public Governance in the Age of Globalization, ed. by Karl-Heinz Ladeur, Ashgate Publishing, pp. 157-175.
  • 2004 "Ungoverned Production," in Convergence and Persistence in Corporate Governance, ed. by Jeffrey N. Gordon and Mark J. Roe, Cambridge University Press, pp. 310-327.
  • 2004 "Neither Modularity Nor Relational Contracting: Inter-Firm Collaboration in the New Economy. A Response to Langlois and Lamoreaux, Raff, and Temin", with Jonathan Zeitlin, in Enterprise and Society 5, 3 (September 2004).
  • 2004 "The World in a Bottle, or, Window on the World? Open Questions about Industrial Districts in the Spirit of Sebastiano Brusco", paper presented to the Conference on Clusters, Industrial Districts and Firms: the Challenge of Globalization, Modena, Italy, September 2003; in Stato e Mercato as "Mondo in bottiglia o finestra sul mondo? Domande aperte sui distretti industriali nello spirito di Sebastiano Brusco", issue 70, pp. 143-158, 2004.
  • 2004 "Pragmatic Collaborations in Practice: A Response to Herrigel and Whitford and Zeitlin," in Industry and Innovation, v. 11, nos. 1/2 (March/June 2004), pp. 81-87.
  • 2004 "Destabilization Rights: How Public Law Litigation Succeeds," with William Simon, in Harvard Law Review, v. 117, no. 4 (February 2004), pp.1015-1101.
  • 2003 "Theory of a Real-Time Revolution," presented at 19th EGOS Colloquium, Copenhagen, Denmark, July 2003.
  • 2003 "A Public Laboratory Dewey Barely Imagined: The Emerging Model of School Governance and Legal Reform," with James Liebman, in NYU Journal of Law and Social Change, v. 23, no. 2, pp. 183-304.
  • 2003 "Information exchange and the robustness of organizational networks," with Peter Sheridan Dodds and Duncan Watts, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v. 100, no. 12 (October 14, 2003), pp. 12516-12521.
  • 2003 "Active Welfare, Experimental Governance, Pragmatic Constitutionalism: The New Transformation of Europe," with Jonathan Zeitlin, presented at the International Conference of the Hellenic Presidency of the European Union, "The Modernisation of the European Social Model and EU Policies and Instruments," Ioannina, Greece, May 2003.
  • 2003 "The Federal No Child Left Behind Act and the Post-Desegregation Civil Rights Agenda," with James Liebman, in North Carolina Law Review, vol. 81, no. 4 (May 2003), pp. 1703-1749.
  • 2003 "Sovereignty and Solidarity: EU and US", with Joshua Cohen, in Governing Work and Welfare in a New Economy: European and American Experiments, Jonathan Zeitlin and David Trubek, eds, (Oxford: OUP), pp. 345-375.
  • 2002 "L'Europe sociale vue des Etats-Unis", with Joshua Cohen, in Semaine Sociale Lamy, no. 1095 (28 October 2002), pp. 14-25.
  • 2002 "Directly Deliberative Polyarchy: An Institutional Ideal for Europe?," with Oliver Gerstenberg, in Good Governance in Europe's Integrated Market, edited by Christian Joerges and Renaud Dehousse, (Oxford: OUP), pp. 289-341.
  • 2001 "Diversity, Not Specialization: The Ties that Bind the (New) Industrial District", in Complexity and Industrial Clusters - Dynamics, Models, National Cases, (Milan: Fondazione Montedison; Heidelberg: Physica-Verlag 2002). In Italian, "Diversita, non specializzazione: i legami che uniscono il (nuovo) distretto industriale", in Complessita e Distretti Industriali - Dinamiche, Modelli, Casi Reali, (Bologna: Societa editrice il Mulino 2002).
  • 2001 "Democratic Experimentalism: What to do about Wicked Problems after Whitehall," with Rory O'Donnell, in Devolution and Globalisation: Implications for Local Decision-Makers, (Paris: OECD), pp. 67-90.
  • 2001 "The Changing Shape of Government," Panel Discussion at the Tenth Annual Symposium on Contemporary Urban Challenges, in Fordham Urban Law Journal, vol. 28, no. 5 (June 2001), pp. 1319-1355.
  • 2001 "Stepping Up Labor Standards," with Archon Fung and Dara O'Rourke, in The Boston Review, vol.26, no. 1 (February/March 2001), pp. 4-20.
  • 2001 "Quale volano per gli standard internazionali di protezione sociale? Proposta per un progressivo miglioramento delle condizioni di lavoro nell'economia globalizzata," with Archon Fung and Dara O'Rourke, in Il diritto del Mercato del Lavoro, n.1/2001.
  • 2001 "A Quiet Revolution of Democratic Governance: Towards Democratic Experimentalism," in Governance in the 21st Century, (Paris: OECD), pp. 121-148.
  • 2000 "After Backyard Environmentalism: Toward a Performance-Based Regime of Environmental Regulation," with Archon Fung and Bradley Karkkainen, in American Behavioral Scientist, 44:4, December 2000.
  • 2000 "Ratcheting Labor Standards," with Archon Fung and Dara O'Rourke, World Bank Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0011, May 2000; a shorter version in Visions of Ethical Sourcing, Raj Thamotheram, ed. (Financial Times Prentice Hall) August 2000.
  • 2000 "Beyond Backyard Environmentalism: A New Democracy Forum with Charles Sabel, Archon Fung, and Bradley Karkkainen," in New Democracy Forum, July 2000, Josh Cohen and Joel Rogers, eds. (Beacon Press).
  • 2000 "Denationalization and the Idea of Democratic Constitutionalism: The Case of the European Community," with Oliver Gerstenberg, presented at a workshop sponsored by the Max Planck Group, Bonn, June 2000; also presented at the Eleventh Session of the Law of the European Union at the Academy of European Law, Florence, July 2000.
  • 2000 "The Emerging Model of Public School Governance and Legal Reform: Beyond Redistribution and Privatization," with James Liebman, presented at the Montreal Conference of Collective Rights, Identity and Public Education, June 2000.
  • 2000 "Pragmatic Collaborations: Advancing Knowledge while Controlling Opportunism," with John Paul MacDuffie and Susan Helper, in Industrial and Corporate Change, 9:3, 2000. Also translated in Impresa senza confini: Percorsi, strategie e regolazione dell'outsourcing nel post-fordismo maturo, G. Bonazzi and S. Negrelli, eds. (FrancoAngeli, Milan, Italy, 2003).
  • 2000 "Drug Treatment Courts and Emergent Experimentalist Government," with Michael C. Dorf, in Vanderbilt Law Review, vol. 53, no. 3, April 2000.
  • 2000 "A Quiet Revolution of Democratic Governance: Towards Democratic Experimentalism," presented to the OECD Forum for the Future Conference on 21st Century Governance: Power in the Global Knowledge Economy and Society, Hannover, 25/26 March 2000.
  • 2000 "Democratic Experimentalism: What to do About Wicked Problems After Whitehall (And What Scotland May Just Possibly Already Be Doing)," presented to the OECD Conference on Devolution and Globalization: Implications for Local Decision-makers, Glasgow, 28/29 February 2000.
  • 2000 "USA: Economic Revival and the Prospect of Democratic Renewal," in Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft, No. 1/2000.
  • 1999 "Craft Production In Crisis:Industrial Restructuring in Germany During the 1990s." Chapter 3 of The German Skills Machine, Culpepper and Finegold, eds.
  • 1999 "Beyond Backyard Environmentalism: How communities are quietly refashioning environmental regulation," with Archon Fung and Bradley Karkkainen, in The Boston Review, vol.24, no. 5 (October/November 1999), pp. 4-23.
  • 1999 "Open Labor Standards: Towards a System of Rolling Rule Regulation of Labor Practices." Discussion paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the World Bank, Seminar on Labor Standards, September 28, 1999, Washington, DC.
  • 1998 "A Constitution of Democratic Experimentalism," with Michael C. Dorf. Columbia Law Review, 1998.
  • 1998 "Commentary on implications for evaluation," in Evaluation & Development: The Institutional Dimension, R. Picciotto and E. Wiesner, Eds. (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1998), pp. 299-303.
  • 1998 "Regionalismo sperimentale e i dilemmi della politica economica regionale in Europa," in Neoregionalismo, P. Perulli, Ed., First ed. (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri editore, 1998), pp. 70-110.
  • 1997 "Constitutional Orders: Trust Building and Response to Change," in Contemporary Capitalism: The Embeddedness of Institutions, J. R. Hollingsworth and R. Boyer, eds. (Cambridge, England and New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 154-188.
  • 1997 "Design, Deliberation, and Democracy: On the New Pragmatism of Firms and Public Institutions," in Liberal Institutions, Economic Constitutional Rights, and the Role of Organizations, K.-H. Ladeur, Ed. (Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 1997), pp. 101-149.
  • 1997 "Directly-Deliberative Polyarchy," with Joshua Cohen. European Law Journal, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 313-340, December 1997.
  • 1997 "Foreward," in In the Shadow of the Tiger: New Approaches to Combating Social Exclusion, P. Kirby and D. Jacobson, Eds. (Dublin: Dublin City University Press, 1998,) pp. xi-xiii.
  • 1997 "Rappresentanza del lavoro autonomo e coordinamento economico. Il caso degli enti bilaterali dell'artigianato," in Il Lavoro Autonomo di Seconda Generazione, S. Bologna and A. Fumagalli, Eds. (Milan: Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore, May 1997.)
  • 1997 "Craft Production In Crisis:Industrial Restructuring in Germany During the 1990s" with Gary Herrigel, in Hedging Bets on Growth in Globalizing Industrial Order: Lessons for Asian NIEs, LeeJay Cho and YH Kim eds., (Seoul, South Korea: KDI Press, December 1997).
  • 1996 "Constitutional Orders: Trust Building and Response to Change." Roger Hollingsworth and Robert Boyer, eds., Contemporary Capitalism: The Embeddedness of Institutions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
  • 1996 "Intelligible Differences: On Deliberate Strategy and the Exploration of Possibility in Economic Life." Rivista Italiana degli Economisti (Journal of the Societ Italiana degli Economisti), Anno 1 (April 1996), n. 1, pp. 55-80.
  • 1996 "A Measure of Federalism: Assessing Manufacturing Technology Centers." In Research Policy, Volume 25 (1996), pp. 281-307.
  • 1996 "Ungoverned Production: An American View of the Novel Universalism of Japanese Production Methods and Their Awkward Fit with Current Forms of Corporate Governance." Worldspeaker, Summer 1996.
  • 1996 "Gli enti bilaterali dopo l'inizio: tre approcci a una interpretazione operativa." Rivista quadrimestrale della Associazione Lavoro e Ricerche.
  • 1996 "Learning by Monitoring: The Dilemmas of Regional Economic Policy in Europe." In Networks of Enterprises and Local Development (Paris: OECD Territorial Development), pp. 23-51.
  • 1995 "Meta-Corporations and Open Labor Markets: Some Consequences of the Reintegration of Conception and Execution in a Volatile Economy." In Wolfgang Littek and Tony Charles, eds., The New Division of Labour: Emerging Forms of Work Organisation in International Perspective (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1996), pp. 57-94.
  • 1995 "Stabilization Through Reorganization? Some Preliminary Implications of Russia’s Entry into World Markets in the Age of Discursive Quality Standards," with Jane Prokop. In Roman Frydman, Andrzej Rapaczynski, and Cheryl Gray, eds., Corporate Governance in Central Europe and Russia, Vol. II. World Bank/Central European University Privatization Project Publication (Budapest: CEU Press, 1996), pp. 151-191.
  • 1995 "Experimental Regionalism and the Dilemmas of Regional Economic Policy in Europe," paper presented to the International Seminar on Local Systems of Small Firms and Job Creation, June 1-2, 1995, OECD, Paris, France.
  • 1995 "Bootstrapping Reform: Rebuilding Firms, the Welfare State and Unions." Politics and Society, vol. 23, no. 1, March 1995, pp. 5-48, and as "'Bootstrapping-Reform' oder: Revolutionrer Reformismus und die Erneuerung von Firmen, Gewerkschaften und Wohlfahrtsstaat im regionalen Kontext" in Regionale Modernisierungspolitik: Nationale und Internationale Perspektiven (Opladen: Leske + Budrich, 1997), pp. 15-52.
  • 1994 "Learning by Monitoring: The Institutions of Economic Development." In Neil Smelser and Richard Swedberg, eds., Handbook of Economic Sociology (Princeton: Princeton University Press and Russell Sage Foundation, 1994), pp. 137-165, and in Lloyd Rodwin and Donald A. Schon, eds., Rethinking the Development Experience: Essays Provoked by the Work of Albert O. Hirschman (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution and Lincoln Institute, 1994), pp. 231-274.
  • 1994 "Verblate Tugenden: Zur Krise des deutschen Produktionsmodells," with Horst Kern. In Soziale Welt, Sonderband 9: Umbrche gesellschaftlicher Arbeit (1994), pp. 605-624.
  • 1994 "Un virage ngocier pour les districts industriels." In Sabel and Arnaldo Bagnasco, eds., PME et dveloppement conomique en Europe (Paris: La Dcouverte, 1994), pp. 159-188.
  • 1994 "Large Firms and Small: Where They Are in Europe Viewed From Where They WERE." In Proceedings of the International Conference on Cooperation and Competitiveness (Lisbon, October 1993), pp. 55-73.
  • 1993 "Constitutional Ordering in Historical Context." In Fritz W. Scharpf, ed., Games in Hierarchies and Networks (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993), pp. 65-123. A revised version is forthcoming in Robert Boyer and Rogers Hollingsworth, eds., Governance of Capitalist Economies.
  • 1993 "Can the End of the Social Democratic Trade Unions be the Beginning of a New Kind of Social Democratic Politics?" In Stephen R. Sleigh, ed., Economic Restructuring and Emerging Patterns of Industrial Relations (Kalamazoo, MI: Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 1993), pp. 137-165.
  • 1993 "Making Money Talk: Towards a New Debtor-Creditor Relation in German Banking," with Richard E. Deeg and John R. Griffin. In John C. Coffee, Ronald J. Gilson and Louis Lowenstein, eds., Relational Investing (New York: Oxford University Press).
  • 1993 "Stories, Strategies, Structures: Rethinking Historical Alternatives to Mass Production." In Charles F. Sabel and Jonathan Zeitlin, eds., World of Possibilities: Flexibility and Mass Production in Western Industrialization (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 1-33.
  • 1993 "Die Treuhandanstalt: Experimentierfeld zur Entwicklung neuer Unternehmensformen," with Horst Kern. In Wolfram Fischer, Herbert Hax, and Hans Karl Schneider, eds., Treuhandanstalt Das Unmgliche wagen (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1993), pp. 481-504.
  • 1993 "Zwischen Baum und Borke: Zur Unsicherheit der Treuhand, was sie als nchstes sagen sollte" (Between Pillar and Post: Reflections on the Treuhand’s Uncertainty about What to Say Next), with Horst Kern, in SOFI Mitteilungen, no. 19 (1992), pp. 61-78.
  • 1992 "Studied Trust: Building New Forms of Cooperation in a Volatile Economy." In Frank Pyke and Werner Sengenberger, eds., Industrial Districts and Local Economic Regeneration (Geneva: International Institute for Labour Studies, 1992), pp. 215-250. Reprinted in Dominique Foray and Christopher Freeman, eds., Technology and the Wealth of Nations: The Dynamics of Constructed Advantage (London: Pinter Publishers, 1993), pp. 332-352; Human Relations, vol. 46, no. 9 (1993), pp. 1133-1170; and Richard Swedberg, ed., Explorations in Economic Sociology (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1993), pp. 104-144.
  • 1992 "The Small Holder Economy in Denmark: The Exception as Variation," with Peer Hull Kristensen. In Charles F. Sabel and Jonathan Zeitlin, eds., World of Possibility: Flexibility and Mass Production in Western Industrialization (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 344-378.
  • 1991 "Reputations Do Not Make Markets: A Comment on J. Bradford De Long's Did J. P. Morgan's Men Add Value? An Economist's Perspective on Financial Capitalism." In Peter Temin, ed., Inside the Business Enterprise: Historical Perspectives on the Use of Information (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), pp. 236-249.
  • 1991 "Kooperative Produktion: Neue Formen der Zusammenarbeit zwischen Endfertigern und Zulieferern in der Automobilindustrie und die Neuordnung der Firma" (Collaborative Manufacturing: New Supplier Relations in the Automobile Industry and the Redefinition of the Industrial Corporation), with Horst Kern and Gary Herrigel. In H.G. Mendius and U. Wendeling-Schrder, eds., Zulieferer im Netz -- Zwischen Abhngigkeit und Partnerschaft (Kln: Bund Verlag, 1991), pp. 203-227.
  • 1991 "Moebius-Strip Organizations and Open Labor Markets: Some Consequences of the Reintegration of Conception and Execution in a Volatile Economy." In James Coleman and Pierre Bourdieu, eds., Social Theory for a Changing Society (Boulder: Westview Press, 1991), pp. 23-63; and forthcoming in Tony Charles and Wolfgang Littek, eds., The New Division of Labour.
  • 1991 "Trade Unions and Decentralized Production: A Sketch of Strategic Problems in the West German Labor Movement," with Horst Kern. In Marino Regini, ed., The Future of Labor Movements (London: Sage, 1992), pp. 217-249; and Politics and Society, vol. 19, no. 4 (1991), pp. 373-402. An earlier version was published under the title "Gewerkschaften in offenen Arbeitsmrkten. berlegungen zur Rolle der Gewerkschaften in der industriellen Reorganisation," in Soziale Welt, vol. 41, no. 2 (1990), pp. 144-166.
  • 1989 "Flexible Specialization and the Re-emergence of Regional Economies." In Paul Hirst and Jonathan Zeitlin, eds., Reversing Industrial Decline? Industrial Structure and Policy in Britain and Her Competitors (Oxford: Berg, 1989), pp. 17-70; and Ash Amin, ed., Post-Fordism: A Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994), pp. 101-156.
  • 1989 "Le strategie di riaggiustamento industriale in Italia: uno sguardo d'insieme in chiave comparata," with Marino Regini. In Charles F. Sabel and Marino Regini, eds., Strategie di riaggiustamento industriale (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1989), pp. 11-59; and Stato e Mercato, no. 24 (1988), pp. 306-346.
  • 1989 "Regional Prosperities Compared: Massachusetts and Baden-Wrttemberg," with Gary Herrigel, Richard Deeg, and Richard Kazis. In Economy and Society, vol. 18, no. 4 (November 1991), pp. 374-404. Reprinted in Ulrich Hilpert, ed., Regional Innovation and Decentralization: High Tech Industry and Government Policy (London: Routledge, 1991), pp. 177-196.
  • 1988 "Protoindustry and the Problem of Capitalism as a Concept," in International Labor and Working-Class History, no. 33 (Spring 1988), pp. 30-37.
  • 1986 "Changing Models of Economic Efficiency and Their Implications for Industrialization in the Third World." In Alejandro Foxley, Michael S. McPherson, and Guillermo O'Donnell, eds., Development, Democracy and the Art of Trespassing: Essays in Honor of Albert O. Hirschman (South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1986), pp. 27-55. Reprinted in Julio Echeverria, ed., Globalization, Flexibility and New Models of Productivity: Firms, Trade Unions, and Social Actors (Quito, Ecuador: Nariz del Diablo, 1993).
  • 1986 "Struktureller Wandel der Produktion und neue gewerkschaftliche Strategien," in Prokla 62 (March 1986), pp. 41-60. Reprinted as "A Fighting Chance: Structural Change and New Labor Strategies," in International Journal of Political Economy, vol. 17, no. 3 (Fall 1987), pp. 26-56.
  • 1986 "Industrializzazione del Terzo Mondo e nuovi modelli produttivi," in Stato e Mercato, no. 17 (August 1986), pp. 217-251.
  • 1985 "Historical Alternatives to Mass Production," with Jonathan Zeitlin, in Past and Present, no. 108 (August 1985), pp. 133-176. An earlier version appeared in Italian translation in Stato e Mercato, no. 5 (August 1982), pp. 213-258.
  • 1985 "Industrial Relations and Industrial Adjustment in the Car Industry," with Harry Katz, in Industrial Relations, vol. 24, no. 3 (Fall 1985). Excerpted in Technology Review, vol. 88, no. 7 (October 1985), pp. 54-61, under the title, "The Future of Automaking: What Role for Unions."
  • 1984 "Industrial Reorganization and Social Democracy in Austria," in Industrial Relations, vol. 23, no. 3 (Fall 1984), pp. 344-361.
  • 1984 "Le innovazioni tecnologiche nelle imprese di dimensioni piccole e medie." In Gilberto Antonelli, ed., Innovazioni tecnologiche e struttura produttiva: la posizione dell'Italia (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1984), pp. 45-75.
  • 1983 "Italian Small Business Development: Lessons for U.S. Policy," with Michael J. Piore. In John Zysman and Laura Tyson, eds., American Industry in International Competition: Government Policies and Corporate Strategies (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983), pp. 391-421.
  • 1983 "Neo-Fordism or Flexible Specialization? The Micro-Politics of Industrial Reorganization." In Helmut Kramer and Felix Butschek, eds., Strukturpolitik als Dimension der Vollbeschftigungspolitik (Stuttgart: Gustav Fischer Verlag, 1983), pp. 59-75.
  • 1983 "Kontrollierte Flexibilitt." In Anton Benya and Charles F. Sabel, eds., Gewerkschaftsstrategie in den achtziger Jahren (Vienna: Verlag des sterreichischen Gewerkschaftsbundes, 1983).
  • 1982 "Class Conflict and the Social Democratic Reform Cycle in Germany," with Mary Nolan. In Gosta Esping-Andersen and Roger Friedland, eds., Political Power and Social Theory, vol. 3 (1982), pp. 145-173.
  • 1982 "Planning, Politics, and Shop-Floor Power: Hidden Forms of Bargaining in Soviet-Imposed State-Socialist Societies," with David Stark, in Politics and Society, vol. 11, no. 4 (1982), pp. 439-475.
  • 1981 "Artisan Production and Economic Growth," with Sebastiano Brusco. In Frank Wilkenson, ed., The Dynamics of Labor Market Segmentation (London: Academic Press, 1981), pp. 99-113.
  • 1981 "The Internal Politics of Trade Unions." In Suzanne Berger, ed., Organizing Interests in Western Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 209-244.
  • 1979 "Marginal Workers in Industrial Society," in Challenge, vol. 22, no. 1 (March-April 1979), pp. 22-32; also in Michael J. Piore, ed., Unemployment and Inflation: Institutionalist and Structuralist Views (White Plains, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1979), pp. 170-185.
  • 1979 "Business Unions in den U.S.A. "Eine Verteidigung gegen ihre falschen Feinde," with Richard Herding. In Joachim Bergmann, ed., Beitrge zur Soziologie der Gewerkschaften (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1979), pp. 262-286.
  • 1978 "Zur relativen Autonomie der Deutungsmuster" (On the Relative Autonomy of World-Views), with Hartmut Neuendorff. In Transactions of the 18th Congress of Germany Sociologists; and in French translation, in Sociologie du travail 20 (January-March 1978), pp. 68-75.

Other Publications
  • 1993 "State of the Unions (and Why You Should Care)," with Joel Rogers. In Inc Magazine, January 1994, pp. 23-24.
  • 1993 "Imagining Unions," in Boston Review, vol. 18, no. 5 (October/November 1993), pp. 10-12.
  • 1989 "Left Behind at the Forge" (review of Mark Reutter, Sparrows Point, and John P. Hoerr, And the Wolf Finally Came). New York Times Book Review, February 5, 1989, pp. 3, 30.
  • 1987 "How to Keep Mature Industries Innovative," with Gary Herrigel, Richard Kazis, and Richard Deeg, in Technology Review, vol. 90, no. 3 (April 1987), pp. 26-35. Reprinted in abridged form in The New York Times, June 14, 1987, p. B2.
  • 1987 "Un metr nel centro del mondo," in L'Unita, Oct. 22, 1987, p. 12. (Review of Red Grooms Exhibition at the Whitney Museum, New York City, October, 1987.)
  • 1983 "La new Italy della piccola impressa," in Politica ed Economia (July-August 1983), pp. 73-75.
  • 1980 "Piccole imprese, professionalita, alleanze di classe," with Adele Pesce, in I Consigli, new series (July 1980), pp. 57-64.
  • 1979 "Rationalization and Unemployment in Germany: Their Impact on a Fragile Truce." Proceedings of the Industrial Relations Association Annual Meeting (December 28, 1979, Atlanta, GA), pp. 316-324.
  • 1978 "Ambiguities of Class and the Possibility of Politics," in Proceedings of the Third International Colloquium of the Inter-University Center of Montreal (March 1978), pp. 257-279.
  • 1978 Review of Ivar Berg, et al., Managers and Work Reform: A Limited Engagement, in Challenge, vol. 22, no. 3 (July-August 1979), pp. 64-66.




Columbia Law
Fall Term
L9467-001: Contracts, Collaboration and Interpretation
Charles F. Sabel
Schedule: M 4:20-6:10 pm

This offering meets 2 hours per week, but is worth 3 points of credit. The additional point of credit reflects the instructor's certification that the course assignments require student engagement and responsibilities beyond that found in a two hour lecture course.

Firms co-developing new pharmaceuticals or next-generation fuel injection systems or smart phones typically cannot anticipate their respective contributions to the eventual product with anything like the precision needed to form fully specified contracts. Faced with such uncertainty the parties increasingly respond by creating a rich and regular information exchange regime "contracts for innovation" that allows each to ascertain the capacity and intention of the other to meet the emerging demands of cooperation, while maintaining the right to withdraw from joint effort if collaboration fails. Where the paradigmatic 20th century contract focused on the allocation of risk between the parties, contracts for innovation govern their joint response to uncertainty. The seminar examines the design and operation this novel form of private governance in detail. More generally it explores their role as a link among nodes in the vertically disintegrated, "new" economy and shows how, in the relations it governs, trust is an outcome, not a pre-condition of collaboration.


L6518-001 Rebuilding Government
Charles F. Sabel
Schedule: T 4:20-6:10 pm

This course studies the theory and practice of public institutional design. It focuses on recent efforts to make government simultaneously more adaptable and more accountable.

Government increasingly encounters problems for which traditional bureaucracy seems ill-suited because of its limited ability to shape its practices to varying circumstances and to adapt to new understanding. One set of responses to this situation emphasizes small interventions designed to correct market imperfections, for example, "nudges"that favor particular choices but permit opting out and the incorporation of market principles into public regulation and services, for example, emissions trading or school vouchers. We will examine this approach, but our principal focus will be on another set of responses that has been less salient in the legal academy but at least as important in practice. These responses are sometimes labeled new governance or democratic experimentalism.They decentralize initiative in order to induce local experimentation, while building central institutions to assess local performance and pool information about the efficacy of different practices. While the market-oriented responses emphasize individual choice, new governance responses emphasize ongoing deliberation by stakeholders at both local and central levels.

We will look at both general accounts and case studies of such initiatives from the United States, the European Union, and transnational regimes. Examples will be drawn from industry regulation (for example, air pollution and health-and-safety), social welfare (for example, new accountability educational reform and child protective services reform), and civil rights (for example, police abuse and prison conditions).

We will pay attention to legal doctrine at points where it induces and structures organizational design, and a recurring question will be what the changes in the organizational form of public programs imply for public and international law.

Readings will be made available in e-form. We will reserve some flexibility to introduce readings responsive to the needs and interests of the class.

Seminar limited to 25 students.


Spring Term
L6208-001 S. The Future of Administrative Law: Regulatory Innovation and Judicial Review
Charles F. Sabel
Schedule: M 4:20-6:10 pm

As Justice Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings recently demonstrated, the proper relationship between administrative agencies and federal courts is an increasingly prominent and polarizing topic of legal controversy. Much of the debate is formalistic, if not formulaic. At one extreme, some libertarian and originalist legal scholars argue that the federal courts are now far too deferential toward administrative agencies, and administrative agencies dangerously indifferent to constitutional norms of due process and the separation of powers. In response, a group of progressive legal scholars contend that the administrative state, today and since its inception, generates a wide variety of accountability mechanisms—ranging from political supervision to public participation, inter- and intra-agency deliberation, and executive-branch lawyering—which together assure its democratic and constitutional legitimacy. From this point of view, the federal courts remain, if anything, insufficiently cognizant of and deferential to such “internal administrative law.” A third group, styling itself the middle ground in the debate, rejects both these views and argues instead that American administrative law has achieved, in the letter and spirit of the APA, a normatively and practically appropriate balance between administrative autonomy and judicial intervention. They call on courts to defend this balance against the enemies of the administrative state on the right and its misguided friends on the left.

This seminar will first explore the historical origins and conceptual limitations of the current debate. It will then put forward an alternative framework for understanding – and debating – the relationship between judicial review and internal administrative law. Our alternative framework begins with the fact that the current travails of the administrative state stem not only from inveterate disagreements about the legal status of the federal bureaucracy and the role of the judiciary in policing it, but also from more recent and contingent developments in the regulatory environment. Above all, a rapid increase in uncertainty – the inability to predict future states of the world – has made it harder and harder to promulgate robust rules of general application, and more and more necessary to revisit and reshape existing rules when regulatory conditions change. In response, administrative agencies and courts have devised a number of accountability mechanisms and oversight practices that seek to accommodate dynamic administrative decision-making while foreshadowing new ways of assuring its legitimacy. These innovations are neither clearly grounded in – nor plainly at odds with – the APA and the Constitution. Taken together, they suggest the principles of a reconstructed administrative law, one that could ease long-standing anxieties about bureaucratic accountability while confronting head on the challenge of regulatory uncertainty.

Each seminar participant will be expected to produce a substantial paper drawing on the seminar materials and intervening in the contemporary debate. The final two weeks of the seminar will be dedicated to the presentation and discussion of these papers. Final grades will be based on both class participation (35%) and the seminar paper (65%).


L8066-001 S. Catastrophe-Avoiding Regulation
Charles F. Sabel
Schedule: T 4:20-6:10 pm, Location: TBD

In the late twentieth century, the focus of regulation was efficient harm reduction: the allocation of the burden of reducing the risk of known harms to those who could mitigate those risks at the lowest cost. Its characteristic intervention was the cap-and-trade regime. Increasingly the problem for regulation is not harm reduction but catastrophe avoidance. As supply chains lengthen and the pace of innovation (and with it the rate of introduction of incompletely tested products and production processes) increases, it has become clear that catastrophes can result from the unforeseeable concatenation of abnormal or out-of-control sequences of events, many themselves relatively innocuous. This class examines regulatory systems in domains such as nuclear power generation, offshore drilling in the North Sea, food safety in the United States, European Union, and globally, and—incipiently—financial-market regulation that are successfully responding to this potential for catastrophe. Introductory readings explain why, under these circumstances, regulators do not attempt to write detailed rules whose application will ensure safe operation, and why it cannot be assumed that imposition of unlimited tort liability for damages will induce private actors to take requisite precautions. Case studies show how, instead, error detection and correction methods (similar to, and sometimes directly inspired by those developed in the Toyota production system) induce continuous, joint learning about potential hazards and effective responses to them that neither the regulator nor the regulated entities could have identified ex ante. These continuous-improvement systems mesh awkwardly with the notice-and-comment rulemaking at the heart of U.S. administrative law; and the class explores reform possibilities, some already present as leitmotifs in administrative practice. A final unit considers the effect of applying catastrophe-avoiding regulation to global supply chains from the vantage point of developing countries. Paper required.