Fall 2007 Workshops
Law and Economic Studies
September 24, 2007
Harvard University, Department of Economics
Protecting Antiquities: A Role for Long-Term Leases?
Authored with Tom Wilkening
Abstract - Most countries prohibit the export of certain antiquities. This practice often leads to illegal excavation and looting for the black market, which damages the items and destroys important aspects of the archaeological record. We argue that long-term leases of antiquities would raise revenue for the country of origin while preserving its long-term ownership rights. By putting the object into the hands of the highest value consumer in each period, allowing leases would generate incentives for protection of objects.
Kremer, Michael - Fall 07 WS
October 8, 2007
Lior J. Strahilevitz
The University of Chicago. The Law School
Reputation Nation: Law in an Era of Ubiquitous Personal Information
Abstract - Modern technology has made two sorts of previously private information widely available in the past decade: Information about individual's past actions and activities, often contained in government files, consumer credit histories, and advertising profiles; and Feedback information about individual's reputations and preferences, often contained in social networking sites' pages, eBay feedback scores or Slashdot karma scores. In the coming decade, wearable computing devices and advances in network technologies have the potential to transform completely the way that strangers interact with each other and consumers interact with service providers. This paper is the first to ask systematically how the law should respond to the newly widespread availability of this information.
The paper develops a hopeful hypothesis, which is that the widespread availability of personal history and reputation information will reduce individuals' reliance on easily observable proxies like race, gender, and age, in deciding with whom to socialize or do business. The government thus has an unrecognized anti-discrimination tool at its disposal. For example, in addition to imposing liability on landlords who discriminate on the basis of race, the state can provide landlords with personalized information about a prospective tenant's attributes that allows the landlord to assign more weight to those attributes and less weight to the tenant's race. The paper then explores the application of this insight to varied antidiscrimination challenges in employment law, jury selection, health law, and insurance regulation. It then extends the discussion to examine how the widespread availability of personal information might improve immigration policy and consumer protection law.
The paper's next part examines the variables that will determine whether the optimistic story plays out, and whether greater information availability might undermine welfarist and distributive goals. It develops a typology of "curtains" and "search lights," respective strategies designed to obscure individual attributes that are otherwise visible or render obvious attributes that would otherwise be obscure, and explains why search light strategies might be particularly well suited to certain contexts. The paper concludes with a discussion of the normative case for the government to supplement traditional antidiscrimination laws with information-based antidiscrimination strategies, focusing on the pathologies that result when privacy protections or other obscurity-inducing measures are used for distributive purposes and the social meaning of strategies that try to reduce discrimination by providing decisionmakers with more information about job seekers, apartment renters, jurors, or patients.
Strahilevitz,Lior - Fall 07 WS
October 22, 2007
K. J. Martijn Cremers
Yale School of Management
Abstract - We investigate the relationship between CEO centrality - the relative importance of the CEO within the top executive team in terms of ability, contribution, or power - and the value and compensation captured by the CEO. We find that CEO centrality is negatively associated with fir value (as measured by industry-adjusted Tobin’s Q). Greater CEO centrality is also correlated with (I) lower (industry-adjusted) accounting profitability, (ii) lower stock returns accompanying acquisitions announced by the firm and higher likelihood of a negative stock return accompanying such announcements, (iii) greater tendency to reward the CEO for luck in the form of positive industry-wide shocks, (iv) lower likelihood of CEO turnover controlling for performance, and (v) lower firm-specific variability of stock returns over time. Overall, our results indicate that differences in CEO centrality are an aspect of firm management and governance that deserves the attention of researchers.
Paper no longer available
November 5, 2007
Daniel E. Ho
Stanford Law School
Congressional Agency Control: The Impact of Statutory Partisan Requirements on Regulation
Abstract - Presidential and congressional influence over regulatory agencies forms a central topic in the study of bureaucratic politics and administrative law. One mechanism of congressional control consists of formal constraints on the president's appointment power: enabling statutes for independent regulatory commissions often cap the number of same-party (party-line) commissioners a president may appoint, forcing presidents to appoint "cross-party" commissioners. This paper provides the first systematic empirical evidence of the impact of partisan requirements. I present evidence from a new dataset of published adjudications and rulemakings in the Federal Communications Commission from 1965-2006. This dataset is the largest and most complete ever assembled, documenting 94,693 votes by 46 commissioners in 17,879 adjudications and rulemakings. Using a Bayesian multilevel ideal point model for mixed ordinal votes, I find that partisan requirements may have considerable effects on substantive policy outcomes. The evidence squarely rejects theories of presidential dominance in the appointments game. But effects are in part unanticipated: evidence suggests that after 1980, cross-party appointees are even more extreme than party-line appointees, pointing to a sharp rupture in Senatorial deference in the 1980s.
November 19, 2007
University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business
Who Blows The Whistle On Corporate Fraud?
Authored with Alexander Dyck and Adair Morse
Abstract - What external control mechanisms are most effective in detecting corporate fraud? To address this question we study in depth all reported cases of corporate fraud in companies with more that 750 million dollars in assets between 1966 and 2004. We find that fraud detection does not rely on one single mechanism, but on a wide range of, often improbable, actors. Only 6% of the frauds are revealed by the SEC and 14% by the auditors. More important monitors are media (14%), industry regulators (16%), and employees (19%). Before SOX, the performance of mandated actors improved, but still account for only slightly more than 50% of the cases. We find that monetary incentives for detection in frauds against the government influence detection without increasing frivolous suits, suggesting gains from extending such incentives to corporate fraud more generally.
zingales,Luigi - Fall 07 WS
December 3, 2007
Thomas J. Miles
The University of Chicago, The Law School
Markets for Stolen Property: Pawnshops and Crime
Abstract - Pawnshops serve the credit needs of low-income individuals and consequently locate in higher crime communities. However, pawnshops are often suspected of being outlets for stolen property an if so, they may stimulate criminal activity. To break this simultaneity, this paper uses usury laws as instrumental variables to identify the causal effect of pawnshops on crime. States with more generous limits on the interest and fees that pawnbrokers may charge have a greater incidence of pawnshops. Increases in the number of pawnshops are shown to raise the rate of those crimes in which pawnable property is stolen and to have no impact on the rates of those crimes in which such property is not taken. The results support the hypothesis that pawnshops trade in ill-gotten merchandise. While a ban on these shops does not appear warranted, a closer police monitoring of these shops is likely efficient.