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Full-Text Articles in Law

Holding Charities Accountable: Some Thoughts From An Ex-Regulator, Catharine P. Wells Dec 2006

Holding Charities Accountable: Some Thoughts From An Ex-Regulator, Catharine P. Wells

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This paper recounts a number of lessons learned in the course of serving as the Director of Public Charities for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It incorporates these lessons into a discussion of the proper analysis of charitable organizations. Should charities be analogized to for-profit firms or are they something that is essentially different? The paper argues that they lack many of the attributes of Coasian firms and that they should be considered as “consumption groups” that have different methods of accountability.


Minding The Gaps: Fairness, Welfare, And The Constitutive Structure Of Distributive Assessment, Robert C. Hockett Sep 2006

Minding The Gaps: Fairness, Welfare, And The Constitutive Structure Of Distributive Assessment, Robert C. Hockett

Cornell Law Faculty Working Papers

Despite over a century’s disputation and attendant opportunity for clarification, the field of inquiry now loosely labeled “welfare economics” (WE) remains surprisingly prone to foundational confusions. The same holds of work done by many practitioners of WE’s influential offshoot, normative “law and economics” (LE).

A conspicuous contemporary case of confusion turns up in recent discussion concerning “fairness versus welfare.” The very naming of this putative dispute signals a crude category error. “Welfare” denotes a proposed object of distribution. “Fairness” describes and appropriate pattern of distribution. Welfare itself is distributed fairly or unfairly. “Fairness versus welfare” is analytically on ...


Too Big To Fail: Moral Hazard In Auditing And The Need To Restructure The Industry Before It Unravels, Lawrence A. Cunningham Sep 2006

Too Big To Fail: Moral Hazard In Auditing And The Need To Restructure The Industry Before It Unravels, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Large audit firms may believe that they are too big to fail. Arthur Andersen’s 2002 criminal indictment reduced their number from five to four, and the government decided in 2005 to avoid indicting KPMG for crimes it admitted committing. If audit firms interpret the government’s reluctance to indict as signaling aversion to tough action against them, moral hazard arises. This offsets auditing improvements mandated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 that are designed to strengthen auditors’ reputations with managers for thoroughness and improve financial statement reliability. Neutralizing this moral hazard requires a credible alternative industry structure so that ...


Law, Media, & Environmental Policy: A Fundamental Linkage In Sustainable Democratic Governance, Zygmunt J.B. Plater Sep 2006

Law, Media, & Environmental Policy: A Fundamental Linkage In Sustainable Democratic Governance, Zygmunt J.B. Plater

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The functional linkages between law and media have long been signficant in shaping American democratic governance. Over the past thirty-five years, environmental analysis has similarly become essential to shaping international and domestic governmental policy. Environmentalism—focusing as it does on realistic interconnected accounting of the full potential negative consequences as well as benefits of proposed actions, policies, and programs, over the long term as well as the short term, with careful consideration of all realistic alternatives— provides a legal perspective important for societal sustainability. Because environmental values and norms are often in tension with established industrial interests that resist public ...


The Story Of Nlrb V. Mackay Radio & Telegraph Co.: The High Cost Of Solidarity, Thomas C. Kohler, Julius G. Getman Aug 2006

The Story Of Nlrb V. Mackay Radio & Telegraph Co.: The High Cost Of Solidarity, Thomas C. Kohler, Julius G. Getman

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

In 1938, in NLRB v. Mackay Radio & Telegraph Co., the Supreme Court offered one of its earliest interpretations of the National Labor Relations Act. Although the Court’s holding provided that employers may not discriminate against employees for their union activity when the strike is over and workers are reinstated, dicta in the opinion also provided that under the NLRA employers enjoy an unrestricted right to replace strikers. In the 70 years since the Court’s announcement, scholars remain baffled by the contradictions presented by the “Mackay doctrine”—a rule that forbids employers from discharging legally protected strikers while, at ...


The Transatlantic Gmo Dispute Against The European Communities: Some Preliminary Thoughts, David A. Wirth Jul 2006

The Transatlantic Gmo Dispute Against The European Communities: Some Preliminary Thoughts, David A. Wirth

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Any day now, a World Trade Organization panel is expected to rule in a dispute between the U.S. and the EU concerning market access for genetically-engineered foods and crops. This piece, written before the release of the WTO panel's report, analyzes novel systemic issues concerning the impact of WTO law on regulatory design, at both the national and international levels, that are raised by this dispute. These include (1) the application of WTO disciplines to regulatory schemes that require prior governmental approval to protect the environment and public health from newly-introduced products and substances; (2) the role of ...


Theories Of Asbestos Litigation Costs ­ Why Two Decades Of Procedural Reform Have Failed To Reduce Claimants’ Expenses, Jeffrey M. Davidson May 2006

Theories Of Asbestos Litigation Costs ­ Why Two Decades Of Procedural Reform Have Failed To Reduce Claimants’ Expenses, Jeffrey M. Davidson

Student Scholarship Papers

In twenty years of asbestos litigation, procedural reforms at all levels of the civil litigation system have failed to reduce plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees. The result has been dramatic undercompensation of asbestos tort victims. This paper attempts to explain this remarkable fact using economic methodology. The paper offers three theories: First, that the continuing difficulty of assessing causation in asbestos and other mass tort cases predictably impedes the efforts of procedural reform to reduce costs; second, that changes in defendant and insurer risk attitudes have generated costly litigation; third, that collusion of plaintiffs’ attorneys to maintain prices cannot be ruled out ...


The Gratuities Debate And Campaign Reform – How Strong Is The Link?, George D. Brown May 2006

The Gratuities Debate And Campaign Reform – How Strong Is The Link?, George D. Brown

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The federal gratuities statute, 18 USC § 201(c), continues to be a source of confusion and contention. The confusion stems largely from problems of draftsmanship within the statute, as well as uncertainty concerning the relationship of the gratuities offense to bribery. Both offenses are contained in the same statute; the former is often seen as a lesser-included offense variety of the latter. The controversy stems from broader concerns about whether the receipt of gratuities by public officials, even from those they regulate, should be a crime. The argument that such conduct should not be criminalized can be traced to, and ...


Language, Deals And Standards: The Future Of Xml Contracts, Lawrence A. Cunningham May 2006

Language, Deals And Standards: The Future Of Xml Contracts, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

eXtensible Markup Language (XML) structures information in documentary systems ranging from financial reports to medical records and business contracts. XML standards for specific applications are developed spontaneously by self-appointed technologists or entrepreneurs. XML’s social and economic stakes are considerable, especially when developed for the private law of contracts. XML can reduce transaction costs but also limit the range of contractual expression and redefine the nature of law practice. So reliance on spontaneous development may be sub-optimal and identification of a more formal public standard setting model necessary. To exploit XML’s advantages while minimizing risks, this Article envisions creating ...


Measuring Efficiency In Corporate Law: The Role Of Shareholder Primacy, Jill E. Fisch Apr 2006

Measuring Efficiency In Corporate Law: The Role Of Shareholder Primacy, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The shareholder primacy norm defines the objective of the corporation as maximization of shareholder wealth. Law and economics scholars have incorporated the shareholder primacy norm into their empirical analyses of regulatory efficiency. An increasingly influential body of scholarship uses empirical methodology to evaluate legal rules that allocate power within the corporation. By embracing the shareholder primacy norm, empirical scholars offer normative assessments about regulatory choices based on the effect of legal rules on measures of shareholder value such as stock price, net profits, and Tobin’s Q.

This Article challenges the foundations of using the shareholder primacy norm to judge ...


The Notion Of Solidarity And The Secret History Of American Labor Law, Thomas C. Kohler Apr 2006

The Notion Of Solidarity And The Secret History Of American Labor Law, Thomas C. Kohler

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

“Solidarity,” a term not overly familiar to Americans, sometimes seems to have as many meanings as it has users. The concept became incorporated into American thought during the 19th and 20th century waves of Catholic and Jewish immigration. It provides a European vision of communitarian social order that competes with the “unencumbered self”—America’s unique brand of individualism. Among philosophers, politicians, religious thinkers, and social activists, solidarity theory sought to redefine the then-prevailing views of social bonds. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the American labor movement, which espouses as its core values the principles of unity and ...


Too Many Bells? Too Many Whistles? Corporate Governance In The Post Enron, Post Worldcom Era, Douglas M. Branson Mar 2006

Too Many Bells? Too Many Whistles? Corporate Governance In The Post Enron, Post Worldcom Era, Douglas M. Branson

University of Pittsburgh School of Law Working Paper Series

No one has stepped back to take a comprehensive look at what pundits, academics, regulators, software companies, service providers and others have suggested in the name of corporate governance reform. This article does so, describing the morass that has been overlaid on Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), as well as the costs (but not the details) of SOX itself. This examination of beyond SOX, or SOX and beyond, demonstrates that many regulators, legislators and commentators never learned the lesson that their mothers taught them, “More isn’t necessarily better.”


Poisoning The Well: Law & Economics And Racial Inequality, Robert E. Suggs Feb 2006

Poisoning The Well: Law & Economics And Racial Inequality, Robert E. Suggs

Faculty Scholarship

The standard Law & Economics analysis of racial discrimination has stunted our thinking about race. Its early conclusion, that laws prohibiting racial discrimination were unnecessary and wasteful, discredited economic analysis of racial phenomena within the civil rights community. As a consequence we know little about the impact of racial discrimination on commercial transactions between business firms. Laws do not prohibit racial discrimination in transactions between business firms, and the disparity in business revenues between racial minorities and the white mainstream dwarfs disparities in income by orders of magnitude. This disparity in business revenues is a major factor in the persistence of ...


Toward An Ecology Of Intellectual Property: Lessons From Environmental Economics For Valuing Copyright's Commons, Frank Pasquale Jan 2006

Toward An Ecology Of Intellectual Property: Lessons From Environmental Economics For Valuing Copyright's Commons, Frank Pasquale

Faculty Scholarship

The fair use defense in copyright law shields an intellectual commons of protected uses of copyrighted material from infringement actions. In determining whether a given use is fair, courts must assess the new use's potential effect on the market for the copyrighted work. Fair use jurisprudence too often fails to address the complementary, network, and long-range effects of new technologies on the market for copyrighted works. These effects parallel the indirect, direct, and option values of biodiversity recently recognized by environmental economists. Their sophisticated methods for valuing natural resources in tangible commons can inform legal efforts to address the ...


The Fed’S New Model Of Supervision For “Large Complex Banking Organizations”: Coordinated Risk-Based Supervision Of Financial Multinationals For International Financial Stability, Cynthia C. Lichtenstein Jan 2006

The Fed’S New Model Of Supervision For “Large Complex Banking Organizations”: Coordinated Risk-Based Supervision Of Financial Multinationals For International Financial Stability, Cynthia C. Lichtenstein

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Large internationally active financial institutions, in particular multinational banks, have the capacity to create profound disturbances in the globalized financial markets in the event of failure. For that reason, these entities are supervised and examined in a manner that is completely different than the ordinary business corporation. This piece describes the new methodology that has been developed by the United States' central bank, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System or "the Fed" for short, since 1995, for examining what the Fed calls "large complex banking organizations" or LBCOs and indicates how the system in fact carries out ...


Ranks And Rivals: A Theory Of Competition, Avishalom Tor, Stephen M. Garcia, Richard Gonzalez Jan 2006

Ranks And Rivals: A Theory Of Competition, Avishalom Tor, Stephen M. Garcia, Richard Gonzalez

Journal Articles

Social comparison theories typically assume a comparable degree of competition between commensurate rivals on a mutually important dimension. In contrast, however, the following set of studies reveals that the degree of competition between such rivals depends on their proximity to a standard. Studies 1-3 test the prediction that individuals become more competitive and less willing to maximize profitable joint gains when they and their commensurate rivals are highly ranked (e.g., #2 vs. #3) than when they are not (e.g., #202 vs. #203). Studies 4-6 then generalize these findings, showing that the degree of competition increases not only for ...


Impact On Washington State's Budget Of Allowing Same-Sex Couples To Marry, M.V. Lee Badgett, R. Bradley Sears, Elizabeth Kukura, Holning S. Lau, The Williams Institute Jan 2006

Impact On Washington State's Budget Of Allowing Same-Sex Couples To Marry, M.V. Lee Badgett, R. Bradley Sears, Elizabeth Kukura, Holning S. Lau, The Williams Institute

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


The Irrational Auditor And Irrational Liability, Adam C. Pritchard Jan 2006

The Irrational Auditor And Irrational Liability, Adam C. Pritchard

Articles

This Article argues that less liability for auditors in certain areas might encourage more accurate and useful financial statements, or at least equally accurate statements at a lower cost. Audit quality is promoted by three incentives: reputation, regulation, and litigation. When we take reputation and regulation into account, exposing auditors to potentially massive liability may undermine the effectiveness of reputation and regulation, thereby diminishing integrity of audited financial statements. The relation of litigation to the other incentives that promote audit quality has become more important in light of the sea change that occurred in the regulation of the auditing profession ...