This Article explores the historical development of the academic analysis of corporate law over the past forty years through the scholarship of one of its most influential commentators, Professor James D. Cox of the Duke University School of Law. It traces the ways in which corporate law scholarship changed from the 1970s to the present, including the rise of economic theory and empirical work in the study of corporate law. It shows how Professor Cox’s early scholarship shaped and challenged economic orthodoxy, while his later work used empirical analysis to help corporate law become a more dynamic and richer field.

Throughout his career, Professor Cox’s scholarship has focused on the protection of shareholder rights. He has rebuffed contractarians’ attacks on shareholder protections using a variety of economic, psychological, and empirical techniques. Professor Cox’s support for investors has continued in the wake of financial-market crises, corporate scandals, and the challenges of globalization. He provides an outstanding example of how a thoughtful academic can influence theories and market conditions with several decades of valuable insights.

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