Katharina Pistor

Katharina Pistor is a leading scholar and writer on corporate governance, money and finance, property rights, and comparative law and legal institutions.

Pistor is the author or co-author of nine books. Her most recent book, The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality, examines how assets such as land, private debt, business organizations, or knowledge are transformed into capital through contract law, property rights, collateral law, and trust, corporate, and bankruptcy law. The Code of Capital was named one of the best books of 2019 by the Financial Times and Business Insider. 

Pistor publishes widely in legal and social science journals. In her essay “From Territorial to Monetary Sovereignty” in the Journal on Theoretical Inquiries in Law (2017), she argued that the rise of a global money system means a new definition of sovereignty: the control of money. She has served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Comparative Law, Columbia Journal of European Law, European Business Organization Law Review, and Journal of Institutional Economics. 

Pistor is a prominent commentator on cryptocurrency and has testified before Congress on the lack of regulatory oversight of proposed international cryptocurrencies. As the director of the Center on Global Legal Transformation, Pistor directs the center’s work to develop research projects and organize conferences to examine ways in which law shapes global relations and how they, in turn, transform the law. 

Before joining Columbia Law School in 2001, Pistor held teaching and research positions at Harvard Law School, the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Law in Hamburg. She has been a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, New York University School of Law, Frankfurt University, London School of Economics, and Oxford University. 

She is a research associate with the Centre for Economic Policy Research, and she has served as principal investigator of the Global Finance and Law Initiative (2011–2013). Pistor was a member of the board of directors (2011–2014) and a fellow (2019) of the European Corporate Governance Institute. In 2015, she was elected a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and in 2021, she was elected a member of the European Academy of Sciences.

In 2012 she was co-recipient (with Martin Hellwig) of the Max Planck Research Award on international financial regulation, and in 2014, she received the Allen & Overy Prize for best working paper on law of the European Corporation Governance Institute. She is also the recipient of research grants by the Institute for New Economic Thinking and the National Science Foundation.