John W. Cioffi


Associate Professor

2216 Watkins Hall
(951) 827-7269


  • PhD in Political Science 2002, University of California, Berkeley
  • MA in Political Science 1995, University of California, Berkeley
  • JD, 1990, Rutgers School of Law-Newark
  • BA in Political Science and English, 1986, Rutgers University

Research Areas

  • Comparative corporate governance
  • Law and political economy (American and comparative)
  • Legal change and regulatory reform
  • Public law and comparative regulation (corporate law, securities law and regulation, labor relations, environmental law and policy)

Former Institution

University of California, Berkeley


  • “Expansive Retrenchment: The Regulatory Politics of Corporate Governance Reform and the Foundations of Finance Capitalism in the United States and Germany,” in Jonah Levy, ed., The State After Statism: New State Activities in the Age of Globalization and Liberalization (under contract, Harvard University Press)
  • “Governing Globalization? The State, Law, and Structural Change in Corporate Governance,” in Thomas Clarke, ed., Corporate Governance: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management , Volume V: Contemporary Corporate Governance ( London and New York : Routledge, 2004)
  • “The State of the Corporation: State Power, Politics, Policymaking and Corporate Governance in the United States, Germany, and France,” in Martin Shapiro and Martin Levin, eds., Transatlantic Policymaking in an Age of Austerity ( Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2004)
  • “Restructuring ‘Germany, Inc.’: The Corporate Governance Debate and the Politics of Company Law Reform,” Law & Policy, vol. 24(4), pp. 355-402 (October 2002)
  • “Governing Globalization? The State, Law, and Structural Change in Corporate Governance,” Journal of Law and Society, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 572-600 (December 2000)
  • “State of the Art: A Review Essay on Comparative Corporate Governance: The State of the Art and Emerging Research,” American Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 501-534 (Summer 2000)
  • John W. Cioffi and Steven S. Cohen, “The Advantages of Forwardness: The State, Law, and Corporate Governance in an Age of Globalization,” Chapter 10 in Steven Cohen and Gavin Boyd, eds., Globalization and Corporate Governance: Strategic and Long Range Planning Issues ( Cheltenham, UK and Northhampton, MA: Matthew Elgar, 2000), pp. 307-349
  • Kazumasu Aoki and John W. Cioffi, “Poles Apart: Industrial Waste Management Regulation and Enforcement in the United States and Japan” Chapter 2 (lead chapter) in Robert A. Kagan and Lee Axelrad, Regulatory Encounters: The Regulatory Experiences of Multinational Corporations under Different Legal Regimes ( University of California Press, 2000), pp. 33-63
  • Kazumasu Aoki and John W. Cioffi, “Poles Apart: A Comparative Study of Waste Management Regulation and Enforcement in the United States and Japan,” Law and Policy, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 213-245 (July 1999)
  • John W. Cioffi, Robert A. Kagan and Kazumasu Aoki, “A Matter of Style: Environmental Regulation in Japan and the United States,” in Wieger Bakker and Frans van Waarden, eds., Dutch Journal of Regulation, 1999-2000 Yearbook (Amsterdam: Uitgeverji Boom, 1999), pp. 171-199, published in Dutch as “Een Kwestie van Stijl: Milieuwetgeving in Japan en de Verenigde Staten,” in Wieger Bakker and Frans van Waarden, red., Ruimte Rond Regels: Stijl van Regulering en Beleidsuitvoering Vergeleken, Beleid en Maatscappij Jaarboek 1999-2000

Selected Awards and Grants

  • Visiting Research Fellowship, Max Planck Institute for Social Research, Cologne, Germany (Summer 2003)
  • Academic Senate Research Grant, University of California, Riverside (2003-2004, 2003-2002, 2001-2002)
  • Departmental Research Grant, Department of Political Science, University of California, Riverside (2002-2001)
  • National Science Foundation Dissertation Research Grant, Public Law Program, Grant No. SES-9906158, for “Dissertation Research: Public Law and Private Power: The Comparative Political Economy of Corporate Governance in the U.S. and Germany” (1999-2001)
  • Simpson Dissertation Fellow, Institute of International StudiesUniversity of California, Berkeley (2000-2001)
  • Hewlett Dissertation Write-Up Fellowship, Institute of International StudiesUniversity of California, Berkeley (2000-2001)
  • Sharlin Fellowship, Institute of International StudiesUniversity of California, Berkeley (1999-2000)
  • Regents Fellowship, University of California , Berkeley (1994-1998)


John W. Cioffi is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Riverside. Professor Cioffi received his J.D. with High Honors from Rutgers University School of Law-Newark and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to his academic career, Professor Cioffi clerked for United States District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise (D.N.J.) and practiced law as a litigation associate with the New York law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton.

Professor Cioffi is the author of the book, Public Law and Private Power: The Comparative Political Economy of Corporate Governance Reform in the Age of Finance Capitalism (Cornell University Press, 2010), part of the Cornell Studies in Political Economy series edited by Peter J. Katzenstein. This work focuses on the comparative law and political economy of national corporate governance regimes and their reform in the United States and Western Europe up to and including the global financial crisis.

He has published numerous articles and book chapters on comparative law and regulation, with a focus on the comparative political economy of corporate governance, financial regulation, and labor relations.  His articles have appeared in the Politics & Society, Regulation & Governance, Law & Policy, the Journal of Law and Society, the American Journal of Comparative Law, and various law reviews.

Prof. Cioffi’s current research investigates conflicts of interest as products of complex legal, political, and institutional processes that pose a persistent insidious threat to democratic politics and the rule of law.  At its core is the reciprocal dynamic in which law and politics influence the forms, prevalence, and political economic consequences of conflicts of interest, even as legally constituted and institutionalized conflicts of interest generate allocations of power that, in turn, alter law and politics.

From the publisher’s summary of Public Law and Private Power:
In Public Law and Private Power, John W. Cioffi argues that the highly politicized reform of corporate governance law has reshaped power relations within the public corporation in favor of financial interests, contributed to the profound crises of contemporary capitalism, and eroded its political foundations. Analyzing the origins of pro-shareholder and pro-financial market reforms in the United States and Germany during the past two decades, Cioffi unravels a double paradox: the expansion of law and the regulatory state at the core of the financially driven neoliberal economic model and the surprising role of Center Left parties in championing the interests of shareholders and the financial sector.

Since the early 1990s, changes in law to alter the structure of the corporation and financial markets—two institutional pillars of modern capitalism—highlight the contentious regulatory politics that reshaped the legal architecture of national corporate governance regimes and thus the distribution of power and wealth among managers, investors, and labor. Center Left parties embraced reforms that strengthened shareholder rights as part of a strategy to cultivate the support of the financial sector, promote market-driven firm-level economic adjustment, and appeal to popular outrage over recurrent corporate financial scandals. The reforms played a role in fostering an increasingly unstable financially driven economic order; their implication in the global financial crisis in turn poses a threat to center-left parties and the legitimacy of contemporary finance capitalism.

More information on the book is available at

Curriculum Vitae