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The Warren Campaign’S Antitrust Proposals, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Mar 2019

The Warren Campaign’S Antitrust Proposals, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust policy promises to be an important issue in the 2020 presidential election, and for good reason. Market power measured by price-cost margins has been on the rise since the 1980s. Presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren has two proposals directed at large tech platforms. One would designate large platform markets such as Amazon “platform utilities,” and prohibit them from selling their own merchandise on the platform in competition with other retailers. The other proposes more aggressive enforcement against large platform acquisitions of smaller companies.

This paper concludes that the first proposal is anticompetitive, leading to reduced output and higher prices ...


The Tcja And The Questionable Incentive To Incorporate, Part 2, Michael S. Knoll Mar 2019

The Tcja And The Questionable Incentive To Incorporate, Part 2, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has put the question should a business be organized as a passthrough entity or as a corporation at center stage. The TCJA eliminated much of the tax disadvantage from using the corporate form, but did Congress go so far that it advantaged corporations relative to pass-through entities? Some prominent commentators say yes. They argue that the federal income tax now encourages individual owners of pass-through businesses to restructure their business as subchapter C corporations, and they predict that the TCJA will lead to a cascade of incorporations. The principal driver of the shift ...


Platforms And The Rule Of Reason: The American Express Case, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Mar 2019

Platforms And The Rule Of Reason: The American Express Case, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In Ohio v. American Express Co., the Supreme Court applied antitrust’s rule of reason to a two-sided platform. The challenge was to an “anti-steering” rule, a vertical restraint preventing merchants from shifting customers who offered an AmEx card from to a less costly alternative such as Visa or Mastercard.

A two-sided platform is a business that depends on relationships between two different, noncompeting groups of transaction partners. For example, a printed periodical such as a newspaper earns revenue by selling both advertising and subscriptions to the paper itself. Success depends on a platform’s ability to maintain the appropriate ...


The Tcja And The Questionable Incentive To Incorporate, Michael S. Knoll Mar 2019

The Tcja And The Questionable Incentive To Incorporate, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has put the question should a business be organized as a passthrough entity or as a corporation at center stage. The TCJA eliminated much of the tax disadvantage from using the corporate form, but did Congress go so far that it advantaged corporations relative to pass-through entities? Some prominent commentators say yes. They argue that the federal income tax now encourages individual owners of pass-through businesses to restructure their business as subchapter C corporations, and they predict that the TCJA will lead to a cascade of incorporations. The principal driver of the shift ...


Shareholder Collaboration, Jill E. Fisch, Simone M. Sepe Mar 2019

Shareholder Collaboration, Jill E. Fisch, Simone M. Sepe

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Two models dominate the debate on the theory of the firm. Under the management-power model, decision-making power exclusively belongs to corporate insiders (officers and directors). The competing shareholder-power model contemplates increasing shareholder power to limit managerial authority. Both models are focused on managerial agency costs and address the appropriate allocation of power between insiders and shareholders to minimize these costs. Both models also assume that insiders and shareholders are engaged in a competitive struggle for corporate power.

Corporate practice has moved on, however. Increasingly, the insider-shareholder dynamic is collaborative, not competitive. This Article traces the development of insider-shareholder collaboration and ...


The New Titans Of Wall Street: A Theoretical Framework For Passive Investors, Jill E. Fisch, Asaf Hamdani, Steven Davidoff Solomon Mar 2019

The New Titans Of Wall Street: A Theoretical Framework For Passive Investors, Jill E. Fisch, Asaf Hamdani, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Passive investors — ETFs and index funds — are the most important development in modern day capital markets, dictating trillions of dollars in capital flows and increasingly owning much of corporate America. Neither the business model of passive funds, nor the way that they engage with their portfolio companies, however, is well understood, and misperceptions of both have led some commentators to call for passive investors to be subject to increased regulation and even disenfranchisement. Specifically, this literature takes a narrow view both of the market in which passive investors compete to manage customer funds and of passive investors’ participation in the ...


Hushing Contracts, David A. Hoffman, Eric Lampmann Feb 2019

Hushing Contracts, David A. Hoffman, Eric Lampmann

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The last few years have brought a renewed appreciation of the costs of nondisclosure agreements that suppress information about sexual wrongdoing. Recently passed bills in a number of states, including New York and California, has attempted to deal with such hush contracts. But such legislation is often incomplete, and many courts and commentators continue to ask if victims of harassment can sign enforceable settlements that conceal serious, potentially metastasizing, social harms. In this Article, we argue that employing the public policy doctrine, courts ought to generally refuse to enforce hush agreements, especially those created by organizations. We restate public policy ...


The Impact Of The Durbin Amendment On Banks, Merchants, And Consumers, Vladimir Mukharlyamov, Natasha Sarin Jan 2019

The Impact Of The Durbin Amendment On Banks, Merchants, And Consumers, Vladimir Mukharlyamov, Natasha Sarin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

After the Great Recession, new regulatory interventions were introduced to protect consumers and reduce the costs of financial products. Some voiced concern that direct price regulation was unlikely to help consumers, because banks offset losses in one domain by increasing the prices that they charge consumers for other products. This paper studies this issue using the Durbin Amendment, which decreased the interchange fees that banks are allowed to charge merchants for processing debit transactions. Merchant interchange fees, previously averaging 2 percent of transaction value, were capped at $0.22, decreasing bank revenue by $6.5 billion annually. The objective of ...


Making Consumer Finance Work, Natasha Sarin Jan 2019

Making Consumer Finance Work, Natasha Sarin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The financial crisis exposed major faultlines in banking and financial markets more broadly. Policymakers responded with far-reaching regulation that created a new agency—the CFPB—and changed the structure and function of these markets.

Consumer advocates cheered reforms as welfare-enhancing, while the financial sector declared that consumers would be harmed by interventions. With a decade of data now available, this Article presents the first empirical examination of the successes and failures of the consumer finance reform agenda. Specifically, I marshal data from every zip code and bank in the United States to test the efficacy of three of the most ...


Global Standards For Securities Holding Infrastructures: A Soft Law/Fintech Model For Reform, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Jan 2019

Global Standards For Securities Holding Infrastructures: A Soft Law/Fintech Model For Reform, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Intermediaries such as stockbrokers and banks are ubiquitous in global securities markets, playing essential roles in markets, including trading, settling trades, and post-settlement holding of securities. This essay focuses in particular on the roles of intermediaries in securities holding systems. It proposes an IOSCO-led “soft-law-to-hard-law” approach to the development of Global Standards for reforms to these holding systems. States would be expected to adopt “hard law” reforms through statutory and regulatory adjustments to securities holding systems. The reforms would embrace not only important standards of a functional and regulatory nature, but also holistic standards relating to the private law, insolvency ...


The Effects Of Holistic Defense On Criminal Justice Outcomes, James Anderson, Maya Buenaventura, Paul Heaton Jan 2019

The Effects Of Holistic Defense On Criminal Justice Outcomes, James Anderson, Maya Buenaventura, Paul Heaton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Is Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Principle Imperiled?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2019

Is Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Principle Imperiled?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust’s consumer welfare principle stands for the proposition that antitrust policy should encourage markets to produce output as high as is consistent with sustainable competition, and prices that are accordingly as low. Such a policy does not protect every interest group. For example, it opposes the interests of cartels or other competition-limiting associations who profit from lower output and higher prices. It also runs counter to the interest of less competitive firms that need higher prices in order to survive. Market structure is relevant to antitrust policy, but its importance is contingent rather than absolute – that is, market structure ...


Toward The Personalization Of Copyright Law, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2019

Toward The Personalization Of Copyright Law, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Article, we provide a blueprint for personalizing copyright law in order to reduce the deadweight loss that stems from its universal application to all users, including those who would not have paid for it. We demonstrate how big data can help identify inframarginal users, who would not pay for copyrighted content, and we explain how copyright liability and remedies should be modified in such cases.


Fiduciary Blind Spot: The Failure Of Institutional Investors To Prevent The Illegitimate Use Of Working Americans' Savings For Corporate Political Spending, Leo E. Strine Jr. Dec 2018

Fiduciary Blind Spot: The Failure Of Institutional Investors To Prevent The Illegitimate Use Of Working Americans' Savings For Corporate Political Spending, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For decades, American workers have been subjected to increasing pressure to become forced capitalists, in the sense that to provide for retirement for themselves, and to pay for college for their children, they must turn part of their income every month over to mutual funds who participate in 401(k) and 529 programs. These “Worker Investors” save for the long term, often hold portfolios that are a proxy for the entire economy, and depend on the economy’s ability to generate good jobs and sustainable growth in order for them to be able to have economic security. In recent years ...


The Problem Of Sunsets, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon Dec 2018

The Problem Of Sunsets, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

An increasing percentage of corporations are going public with dual class stock in which the shares owned by the founders or other corporate insiders have greater voting rights than the shares sold to public investors. Some commentators have criticized the dual class structure as unfair to public investors by reducing the accountability of insiders; others have defended the value of dual class in encouraging innovation by providing founders with insulation from market pressure that enables them to pursue their idiosyncratic vision.

The debate over whether dual class structures increase or decrease corporate value is, to date, unresolved. Empirical studies have ...


Paul Baran, Network Theory, And The Past, Present, And Future Of Internet, Christopher S. Yoo Dec 2018

Paul Baran, Network Theory, And The Past, Present, And Future Of Internet, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Paul Baran’s seminal 1964 article “On Distributed Communications Networks” that first proposed packet switching also advanced an underappreciated vision of network architecture: a lattice-like, distributed network, in which each node of the Internet would be homogeneous and equal in status to all other nodes. Scholars who have subsequently embraced the concept of a lattice-like network approach have largely overlooked the extent to which it is both inconsistent with network theory (associated with the work of Duncan Watts and Albert-László Barabási), which emphasizes the importance of short cuts and hubs in enabling networks to scale, and the actual way, the ...


Whatever Did Happen To The Antitrust Movement?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2018

Whatever Did Happen To The Antitrust Movement?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust in the United States today is caught between its pursuit of technical rules designed to define and implement defensible economic goals, and increasing calls for a new antitrust “movement.” The goals of this movement have been variously defined as combating industrial concentration, limiting the economic or political power of large firms, correcting the maldistribution of wealth, control of high profits, increasing wages, or protection of small business. High output and low consumer prices are typically unmentioned.

In the 1960s the great policy historian Richard Hofstadter lamented the passing of the antitrust “movement” as one of the “faded passions of ...


Bankruptcy For Banks: A Tribute (And Little Plea) To Jay Westbrook, David A. Skeel Jr. Oct 2018

Bankruptcy For Banks: A Tribute (And Little Plea) To Jay Westbrook, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this brief essay, to be included in a book celebrating the work of Jay Westbrook, I begin by surveying Jay’s wide-ranging contributions to bankruptcy scholarship. Jay’s functional analysis has had a profound effect on scholars’ understanding of key issues in domestic bankruptcy law, and Jay has been the leading scholarly figure on cross-border insolvency. After surveying Jay’s influence, I turn to the topic at hand: a proposed reform that would facilitate the use of bankruptcy to resolve the financial distress of large financial institutions. Jay has been a strong critic of this legislation, arguing that financial ...


Making Sustainability Disclosure Sustainable, Jill E. Fisch Sep 2018

Making Sustainability Disclosure Sustainable, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Sustainability is receiving increasing attention from issuers, investors and regulators. The desire to understand issuer sustainability practices and their relationship to economic performance has resulted in a proliferation of sustainability disclosure regimes and standards. The range of approaches to disclosure, however, limit the comparability and reliability of the information disclosed. The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has solicited comment on whether to require expanded sustainability disclosures in issuer’s periodic financial reporting, and investors have communicated broad-based support for such expanded disclosures, but, to date, the SEC has not required general sustainability disclosure.

This Article argues that claims about the relationship ...


Citizens United As Bad Corporate Law, Leo E. Strine Jr., Jonathan Macey Aug 2018

Citizens United As Bad Corporate Law, Leo E. Strine Jr., Jonathan Macey

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Article we show that Citizens United v. FEC, arguably the most important First Amendment case of the new millennium, is predicated on a fundamental misconception about the nature of the corporation. Specifically, Citizens United v. FEC, which prohibited the government from restricting independent expenditures for corporate communications, and held that corporations enjoy the same free speech rights to engage in political spending as human citizens, is grounded on the erroneous theory that corporations are “associations of citizens” rather than what they actually are: independent legal entities distinct from those who own their stock. Our contribution to the literature ...


The Salience Theory Of Consumer Financial Regulation, Natasha Sarin Aug 2018

The Salience Theory Of Consumer Financial Regulation, Natasha Sarin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Prior to the financial crisis, banks’ fee income was their fastest-growing source of revenue. This revenue was often generated through nefarious bank practices (e.g., ordering overdraft transactions for maximal fees). The crisis focused popular attention on the extent to which current regulatory tools failed consumers in these markets, and policymakers responded: A new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was tasked with monitoring consumer finance products, and some of the earliest post-crisis financial reforms sought to lower consumer costs. This Article is the first to empirically evaluate the success of the consumer finance reform agenda by considering three recent price regulations ...


Behavioral Finance, Decumulation And The Regulatory Strategy For Robo-Advice, Tom Baker, Benedict Dellaert Jul 2018

Behavioral Finance, Decumulation And The Regulatory Strategy For Robo-Advice, Tom Baker, Benedict Dellaert

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This working paper surveys the decumulation services offered by investment robo-advisors as a case study with which to examine regulatory and market structure issues raised by automated financial advice. We provide a short introduction to decumulation, describing some of the uncertainties involved in identifying optimal decumulation strategies and sketching a few of the ‘rules of thumb’ that financial advisors have developed in this area in the face of this uncertainty. Next we describe behavioral effects that could inhibit consumers from following an optimal decumulation strategy, concluding that, left to their own devices, consumers are likely to make sub-optimal decumulation decisions ...


Intellectual Property And The Economics Of Product Differentiation, Christopher S. Yoo Jul 2018

Intellectual Property And The Economics Of Product Differentiation, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The literature applying the economics of product differentiation to intellectual property has been called the most important development in the economic analysis of IP in years. Relaxing the assumption that products are homogeneous yields new insights by explaining persistent features of IP markets that the traditional approaches cannot, challenging the extent to which IP allows rightsholders to earn monopoly profits, allowing for sources of welfare outside of price-quantity space, which in turn opens up new dimensions along which intellectual property can compete. It also allows for equilibria with different welfare characteristics, making the tendency towards systematic underproduction more contingent and ...


How Liability Insurers Protect Patients And Improve Safety, Tom Baker, Charles Silver Jul 2018

How Liability Insurers Protect Patients And Improve Safety, Tom Baker, Charles Silver

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Forty years after the publication of the first systematic study of adverse medical events, there is greater access to information about adverse medical events and increasingly widespread acceptance of the view that patient safety requires more than vigilance by well-intentioned medical professionals. In this essay, we describe some of the ways that medical liability insurance organizations contributed to this transformation, and we catalog the roles that those organizations play in promoting patient safety today. Whether liability insurance in fact discourages providers from improving safety or encourages them to protect patients from avoidable harms is an empirical question that a survey ...


Coin-Operated Capitalism, Shaanan Cohney, David A. Hoffman, Jeremy Sklaroff, David A. Wishnick Jul 2018

Coin-Operated Capitalism, Shaanan Cohney, David A. Hoffman, Jeremy Sklaroff, David A. Wishnick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article presents the legal literature’s first detailed analysis of the inner workings of Initial Coin Offerings. We characterize the ICO as an example of financial innovation, placing it in kinship with venture capital contracting, asset securitization, and (obviously) the IPO. We also take the form seriously as an example of technological innovation, where promoters are beginning to effectuate their promises to investors through computer code, rather than traditional contract. To understand the dynamics of this shift, we first collect contracts, “white papers,” and other contract-like documents for the fifty top-grossing ICOs of 2017. We then analyze how such ...


Marginal Rates Under The Tcja, Reed Shuldiner Jun 2018

Marginal Rates Under The Tcja, Reed Shuldiner

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this report, Shuldiner argues that although the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act appears to offer an across-the board reduction in individual marginal tax rates augmented by an additional 20 percent reduction in rates on unincorporated business income, the situation is significantly more complex.


Reflections On Two Years Of P.R.O.M.E.S.A., David A. Skeel Jr. Jun 2018

Reflections On Two Years Of P.R.O.M.E.S.A., David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Essay draws both on my scholarly and on my personal experience as a member of Puerto Rico’s oversight board to assess the first two years of the Board’s existence. I begin in a scholarly mode, by exploring the question of where P.R.O.M.E.S.A., the legislation that created the Board, came from. P.R.O.M.E.S.A.’s core provisions are, I will argue, the product of two historical patterns that have emerged in responses to the financial distress of public entities in the United States. The first dates back to ...


Common Carriage’S Domain, Christopher S. Yoo Jun 2018

Common Carriage’S Domain, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The judicial decision invalidating the Federal Communications Commission’s first Open Internet Order has led advocates to embrace common carriage as the legal basis for network neutrality. In so doing, network neutrality proponents have overlooked the lessons from the history and the academic literature on common carriage. This Essay distills these learnings into five factors that play a key role in promoting common carriage’s success: (1) commodity products, (2) simple interfaces, (3) stability and uniformity in the transmission technology, (4) deployment of the transmission network, and (5) stable demand and market shares. Applying this framework to the Internet suggests ...


Regulation And The Marginalist Revolution, Herbert J. Hovenkamp May 2018

Regulation And The Marginalist Revolution, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The marginalist revolution in economics became the foundation for the modern regulatory State with its “mixed” economy. Marginalism, whose development defines the boundary between classical political economy and neoclassical economics, completely overturned economists’ theory of value. It developed in the late nineteenth century in England, the Continent and the United States. For the classical political economists, value was a function of past averages. One good example is the wage-fund theory, which saw the optimal rate of wages as a function of the firm’s ability to save from previous profits. Another is the theory of corporate finance, which assessed a ...


Was The Amt Effectively Repealed?, Reed Shuldiner Apr 2018

Was The Amt Effectively Repealed?, Reed Shuldiner

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) was a much disliked feature of the tax law prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Yet, despite repeated promises to repeal the AMT as part of tax reform, the TCJA dropped AMT repeal in favor of increasing the AMT exemption and its phaseout threshold. The question raised by this development is whether the AMT changes should be viewed as yet another stop-gap tweak of the AMT or whether the changes should be viewed as returning the AMT to its roots as a tax on high-income taxpayers using excessive loopholes. In this ...