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Full-Text Articles in Law

Trade Agreements, Regulatory Sovereignty And Democratic Legitimacy, Bernard Hoekman, Charles F. Sabel Jan 2017

Trade Agreements, Regulatory Sovereignty And Democratic Legitimacy, Bernard Hoekman, Charles F. Sabel

Faculty Scholarship

Governments increasingly are seeking to use bilateral and regional trade agreements to reduce the cost-increasing effects of differences in product market regulation. They also pursue regulatory cooperation independent of trade agreements. It is important to understand what is being done through bilateral or plurilateral mechanisms to address regulatory differences, and to identify what, if any, role trade agreements can play in supporting international regulatory cooperation. This paper reflects on experience to date in regulatory cooperation and the provisions of recent trade agreements involving advanced economies that have included regulatory cooperation. We argue for a re-thinking by trade officials of the ...


How Should The E.U. Respond To Brexit And Trump?: The Lessons From Trade Wars, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2017

How Should The E.U. Respond To Brexit And Trump?: The Lessons From Trade Wars, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

The U.K.’s decision to exit the E.U. (popularly known as “Brexit”) sets the stage for a potential retaliatory trade war. Similarly, the aggressive nationalism of U.S. President Donald Trump does also. In both cases, game theory suggests how such a conflict might be resolved. This paper first examines three standard game theory models – the Chicken Game, the Prisoner’s Dilemma, and the Stag-Hunt Game – and then turns to the strong incentives for rent-seeking by special interests and considers how rent-seeking likely affects how these games might play out. Although the conventional wisdom expects that the U ...


The Macpherson-Henningsen Puzzle, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2017

The Macpherson-Henningsen Puzzle, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

In the landmark case of MacPherson v. Buick, an automobile company was held liable for negligence notwithstanding a lack of privity with the injured driver. Four decades later, in Henningsen v. Bloomfield Motors, the court held unconscionable the standard automobile company warranty which limited its responsibility to repair and replacement, even in a case involving physical injury. This suggests a puzzle: if it were so easy for firms to contract out of liability, did MacPherson accomplish anything?


The Agency Costs Of Activism: Information Leakage, Thwarted Majorities, And The Public Morality, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2017

The Agency Costs Of Activism: Information Leakage, Thwarted Majorities, And The Public Morality, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

Few doubt that hedge fund activism has radically changed corporate governance in the United States – for better or for worse. Proponents see activists as desirable agents of change who intentionally invest in underperforming companies to organize more passive shareholders to support their proposals to change the target’s business model and/or management. So viewed, the process is fundamentally democratic, with institutional shareholders determining whether or not to support the activist’s proposals.

Skeptics respond that things do not work this simply. Actual proxy contests are few, and most activist engagements are resolved through private settlement negotiations between the activists ...


Investor-Driven Financial Innovation, Kathryn Judge Jan 2017

Investor-Driven Financial Innovation, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

Financial regulations often encourage or require market participants to hold particular types of financial assets. One unintended consequence of this form of regulation is that it can spur innovation to increase the effective supply of favored assets. This Article examines when and how changes in the law prompt the spread of “investor-driven financial innovations.” Weaving together theory, recent empirical findings, and illustrations, this Article provides an overview of why investors prefer certain types of financial assets to others, how markets respond, and how the spread of investor-driven innovations can transform the structure of the financial system. This examination suggests that ...


Border Adjustments And The Conservation Of Tax Planning, David M. Schizer Jan 2017

Border Adjustments And The Conservation Of Tax Planning, David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

This article is based on Schizer’s keynote address at the 17th annual NYU-KPMG Tax Symposium on March 10.

In this article, Schizer argues that U.S. corporate and shareholder taxes need to be reformed, and the corporate rate should be much lower. In reforming this dysfunctional regime, according to Schizer, Congress should keep both of these taxes as a form of built-in redundancy; if one tax is avoided, the other can still be collected. More generally, Congress should be wary of Utopian solutions. Tax reform is more likely to change tax planning than to eliminate it entirely, Schizer concludes ...


Blind Spot: The Attention Economy And The Law, Tim Wu Jan 2017

Blind Spot: The Attention Economy And The Law, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

Human attention is a resource. An increasingly large and important sector of the economy, including firms such as Google, Facebook, Snap, along with parts of the traditional media, currently depend on attentional markets for their revenue. Their business model, however, present a challenge for laws premised on the presumption of cash markets. This paper introduces a novel economic and legal analysis of attention markets centered on the “attention broker,” the firms that attract and resell attention to advertisers.

The analysis has important payouts for two areas: antitrust analysis, and in particular the oversight of mergers in high technology markets, as ...


The Known Unknowns Of The Business Tax Reforms Proposed In The House Republican Blueprint, Michael J. Graetz Jan 2017

The Known Unknowns Of The Business Tax Reforms Proposed In The House Republican Blueprint, Michael J. Graetz

Faculty Scholarship

This set of slides raises important issues and questions concerning the potential effects of a border-adjusted destination-based cash flow tax (DBCFT) as proposed in the 2016 House Blueprint “A Better Way.” These slides reflect the final version published by the Columbia Tax Journal on April 16, 2017 and now include a bibliography. This is the second update since they were first published on February 2.


Heading Off A Cliff? The Tax Reform Man Cometh, And Goeth, Michael J. Graetz Jan 2017

Heading Off A Cliff? The Tax Reform Man Cometh, And Goeth, Michael J. Graetz

Faculty Scholarship

The major tax policy challenge of the 21st century is the need to address the nation’s fiscal condition fairly and in a manner conducive to economic growth. But since California adopted Proposition 13 nearly forty years ago, antipathy to taxes has served as the glue that has held the Republican coalition together. Even though our taxes as a percentage of our economy are low by OECD standards and low by our own historical experience, anti-tax attitudes have become even more important for Republicans politically, since they now find it hard to agree on almost anything else. So revenue-positive, or ...


The Political Economy Of "Constitutional Political Economy", Jeremy K. Kessler Jan 2016

The Political Economy Of "Constitutional Political Economy", Jeremy K. Kessler

Faculty Scholarship

Joseph Fishkin and William Forbath’s book-in-progress, The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution, offers a radical alternative to the constitutional histories that emerged in the 1990s to defend the New Deal synthesis. Fishkin and Forbath’s new constitutional history promises to recast the New Deal as a contingent and incomplete resolution of a centuries-long struggle to achieve the political-economic conditions that the Constitution requires – “requires” in the double sense of “demands” and “depends upon.” This struggle is still ongoing and even accelerating, Fishkin and Forbath report, yet it has become increasingly “one-sided.” First, the post-WWII economic boom dissipated, taking with it much of ...


Impact Investing As A Form Of Lobbying And Its Corporate-Governance Effects, Andrzej Rapaczynski Jan 2016

Impact Investing As A Form Of Lobbying And Its Corporate-Governance Effects, Andrzej Rapaczynski

Faculty Scholarship

Impact investment is attractive to many because it seems to combine support for progressive causes with an apparent commitment to the principles of a market economy. In fact, however, a rational impact investor is not simply creating demand for certain types of corporate actions; he/she is attempting to use corporate governance mechanisms to influence fiduciary decisions of the management. The cost of this tactic for the health of the capitalist economy is potentially very considerable. The American capitalist system relies heavily on a relatively fragile corporate governance arrangement in which the agency problems of a modern corporation are minimized ...


Consumer Bankruptcy Pathologies, Edward R. Morrison, Antoine Uettwiller Jan 2016

Consumer Bankruptcy Pathologies, Edward R. Morrison, Antoine Uettwiller

Faculty Scholarship

This paper questions several longstanding descriptions of consumer bankruptcy in the United States. We focus on Chapter 13, which discharges debts after consumers pay disposable income to creditors for up to five years. Many studies document pathologies, including high failure rates, racial disparities, low creditor recoveries, and attorney biases. We observe the same patterns in new data drawn from Cook County, Illinois, but show that these pathologies are central tendencies that ignore substantial heterogeneity across consumers. Several are driven by subsets of consumers; some disappear once we account for account for consumer heterogeneity. We present new evidence that some pathologies ...


Between Scylla And Charybdis: Taxing Corporations Or Shareholders (Or Both), David M. Schizer Jan 2016

Between Scylla And Charybdis: Taxing Corporations Or Shareholders (Or Both), David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

The US taxes both corporations and shareholders on corporate profits. In principle, the U.S. could rely on only one of these taxes, as many commentators have suggested. Although choosing to tax the corporation or its owners may seem like taking money from one pocket or the other, this Essay emphasizes a key difference: corporate and shareholder taxes prompt different tax planning. Relying on one or the other mitigates some distortions and leaks, while exacerbating others. As a result, choosing which tax to impose is like navigating between Scylla and Charybdis.

In response to these dualing distortions, this Essay recommends ...


After The Golden Victory: Still Lost At Sea, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2016

After The Golden Victory: Still Lost At Sea, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

In The Golden Victory the House of Lords held that when determining damages for a repudiatory breach, in a conflict between the compensatory principle and finality, the former trumped. The decision was recently ratified by the Supreme Court in Bunge SA v. Nidera BV. The claim in this paper is that this was a mistake; properly conceived, there is no conflict. The contract should be viewed as an asset and compensation would entail determining the decline in value of that asset at the time of the breach. The value of the contract at that moment would reflect the possible effects ...


Probabilistic Compliance, Alex Raskolnikov Jan 2016

Probabilistic Compliance, Alex Raskolnikov

Faculty Scholarship

Uncertain legal standards are pervasive but understudied. The key theoretical result showing an ambiguous relationship between legal uncertainty and optimal deterrence remains largely undeveloped, and no alternative conceptual approaches to the economic analysis of legal uncertainty have emerged. This Article offers such an alternative by shifting from the well-established and familiar optimal deterrence theory to the new and unfamiliar probabilistic compliance framework. This shift brings the analysis closer to the world of legal practice and yields new theoretical insights. Most importantly, lower uncertainty tends to lead to more compliant positions and greater private gains. In contrast, the market for legal ...


Information Gaps And Shadow Banking, Kathryn Judge Jan 2016

Information Gaps And Shadow Banking, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

This Article argues that information gaps – ble but not currently known – are a byproduct of shadow banking and a meaningful source of systemic risk. It lays the foundation for this claim by juxtaposing the regulatory regime governing the shadow banking system with the incentives of the market participants who populate that system. Like banks, shadow banks rely heavily on short-term debt claims designed to obviate the need for the holder to engage in any meaningful information gathering or analysis. The securities laws that prevail in the capital markets, however, both presume and depend on providers of capital to perform these ...


Reckoning Contract Damages: Valuation Of The Contract As An Asset, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2016

Reckoning Contract Damages: Valuation Of The Contract As An Asset, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

When a contract is breached the law in most jurisdictions provides some version of the aphorism that the non-breaching party should be made whole. Application of the aphorism has proven problematic, particularly for anticipatory repudiations. This paper argues for a general principle that should guide application — the contract is an asset and the problem is one of valuation of the change in value of that asset at the time of the breach. This provides a framework that will help clear up some conceptual problems in damage assessment. The focus is on direct damages, not consequential damages.

The paper begins with ...


Corporate Governance Changes As A Signal: Contextualizing The Performance Link, Merritt B. Fox, Ronald J. Gilson, Darius Palia Jan 2016

Corporate Governance Changes As A Signal: Contextualizing The Performance Link, Merritt B. Fox, Ronald J. Gilson, Darius Palia

Faculty Scholarship

Promoting “good” corporate governance has become an important concern. One result has been the creation of indexes that purport to measure the quality of a firm’s corporate governance structure. Prior scholarship reports a positive relationship between firms with good corporate governance index ratings and stock-price-based measures of a firm’s ability to create share value, such as Tobin’s Q. Little work, however, explores why we observe this relationship.

We hypothesize one reason for the relationship is that a rating-altering change in corporate governance structure can be a signal concerning the quality of a firm’s management. Changes in ...


The New Business Rule And Compensation For Lost Profits, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2016

The New Business Rule And Compensation For Lost Profits, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

For many years most American jurisdictions applied the “new business” rule, denying recovery of lost profits for new businesses. The majority position today rejects the per se rule, treating the issue as a rule of evidence — lost profits must be proved with “reasonable certainty.” This paper argues that the new business rule ought not be viewed as merely a matter of whether the evidence is sufficient to surmount the “reasonable certainty” hurdle. The confusion arises because courts have lumped together a number of different problems. By breaking these out, a more nuanced picture emerges. For one category, in particular, the ...


From British Westinghouse To The New Flamenco: Misunderstanding Mitigation, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2016

From British Westinghouse To The New Flamenco: Misunderstanding Mitigation, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

Both the venerable British Westinghouse decision and the current New Flamenco case have been analyzed in terms of mitigation. Properly understood, in neither is mitigation relevant. Although in the former, the House of Lords came to the right result, the replacement of the substandard turbines with new superior ones was not to mitigate damages — the buyer would have installed the new turbines even had the Westinghouse turbines met the contractual specifications. Even if Westinghouse’s failure accelerated the replacement (which it almost certainly did not) it would have been a mistake to compensate the buyer for the cost of the ...


From Corporate Law To Corporate Governance, Ronald J. Gilson Jan 2016

From Corporate Law To Corporate Governance, Ronald J. Gilson

Faculty Scholarship

This essay is a contribution to the forthcoming Oxford University Press Handbook of Corporate Law and Governance edited by Jeffery Gordon and Georg Ringe. In the 1960s and 1970s, corporate law and finance scholars recognized that neither discipline was doing a very good job of explaining how corporations were really structured and performed. For legal scholars, Yale Law School professor and then Stanford Law School dean Bayless Manning confessed that corporate law has “nothing left but our great empty corporation statutes – towering skyscrapers of rusted girders, internally welded together and containing nothing but wind.” Michael Jensen and William Meckling made ...


Preserving The Corporate Superego In A Time Of Activism: An Essay On Ethics And Economics, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2016

Preserving The Corporate Superego In A Time Of Activism: An Essay On Ethics And Economics, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

This essay focuses on the impact of recent changes in corporate governance on ethical behavior within the public corporation. It argues that a style of corporate behavior – one characterized by a risk tolerant, even reckless, pursuit of short-term profits and a disregard for the interests of non-shareholder constituencies – is attributable in significant part to recent changes in corporate governance, including the rise of hedge fund activism, greater use of incentive compensation, and the appearance of blockholder directors. It then surveys feasible responses intended to strengthen the role of the boards as the corporation’s conscience and superego. Given the difficulty ...


A "Barbarous Relic": The French, Gold, And The Demise Of Bretton Woods, Michael J. Graetz, Olivia Briffault Jan 2016

A "Barbarous Relic": The French, Gold, And The Demise Of Bretton Woods, Michael J. Graetz, Olivia Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

Since the time of the French Revolution, when a gold standard saved the nation from hyperinflation, France has wanted gold to be the linchpin of international monetary arrangements. And, indeed, from the earliest use of bills and coins as money until August 1971, money was, in principle at least, a claim on gold.

At Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, where in July 1944 730 delegates from 44 countries met to create the post-war international financial order, the French argued that gold – which John Maynard Keynes had described two decades earlier as a “barbarous relic” – was the key to international monetary stability ...


Bringing International Tax Policy Into The 21st Century, Michael J. Graetz Jan 2016

Bringing International Tax Policy Into The 21st Century, Michael J. Graetz

Faculty Scholarship

Michael J. Graetz delivered the following remarks at the Tax Policy Center's "A Corporate Tax for the 21st Century" conference on July 14 in Washington. These remarks are substantially taken from his April 2015 Ross Parsons Lecture at the University of Sydney Law School.


Follow The Money: Essays On International Taxation – Introduction, Michael J. Graetz Jan 2016

Follow The Money: Essays On International Taxation – Introduction, Michael J. Graetz

Faculty Scholarship

Publicity about tax avoidance techniques of multinational corporations and wealthy individuals has moved discussion of international income taxation from the backrooms of law and accounting firms to the front pages of news organizations around the world. In the words of a top Australian tax official, international tax law has now become a topic of barbeque conversations. Public anger has, in turn, brought previously arcane issues of international taxation onto the agenda of heads of government around the world.

Despite all the attention, however, issues of international income taxation are often not well understood. This Introduction outlines a collection of essays ...


Appraising The "Merger Price" Appraisal Rule, Albert H. Choi, Eric L. Talley Jan 2016

Appraising The "Merger Price" Appraisal Rule, Albert H. Choi, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

This paper develops an auction design framework to study how best to measure “fair value” in post-merger appraisal proceedings. Our inquiry spotlights an approach recently embraced by some courts benchmarking fair value against the merger price itself. We show that merger price deference effectively nullifies the role that appraisal can potentially play in establishing a de facto reserve price for company auctions, thereby depressing both acquisition prices and target shareholders’ expected welfare relative to both the optimal appraisal policy and a variety of other valuation measures. We also examine conditions under which deference to the merger price can be optimal ...


The Common Law Of Contract And The Default Rule Project, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott Jan 2016

The Common Law Of Contract And The Default Rule Project, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

The common law developed over centuries a small set of default rules that courts have used to fill gaps in otherwise incomplete contracts between commercial parties. These rules can be applied almost independently of context: the market damages rule, for example, requires a court only to know the difference between market and contract prices. When parties in various sectors of the economy write sales contracts but leave terms blank, courts fill in the blanks with their own rules. As a consequence, a judicial rule that many parties accept must be “transcontextual”: parties in varied commercial contexts accept the courts’ rule ...


Integration Of Corporate And Shareholder Taxes, Michael J. Graetz, Alvin C. Warren Jan 2016

Integration Of Corporate And Shareholder Taxes, Michael J. Graetz, Alvin C. Warren

Faculty Scholarship

Integration of the corporate and individual income taxes can be achieved by providing shareholders a credit for corporate taxes paid with respect to corporate earnings distributed as dividends. When such integration was previously considered in the U.S., proponents emphasized that it could reduce or eliminate many of the familiar distortions of a classical corporate income tax. Integration would also provide a framework for addressing current concerns for tax incentives for U.S. companies to shift income to foreign affiliates in lower-taxed countries or to expatriate in "inversion" transactions. A recent Congressional proposal for a corporate dividend deduction coupled with ...


Beyond Options, Edward R. Morrison, Anthony J. Casey Jan 2016

Beyond Options, Edward R. Morrison, Anthony J. Casey

Faculty Scholarship

Scholars and policymakers now debate reforms that would prevent a bankruptcy filing from being a moment that forces valuation of the firm, crystallization of claims against it, and elimination of junior stakeholders’ interest in future appreciation in firm value. These reforms have many names, ranging from Relative Priority to Redemption Option Value. Much of the debate centers on the extent to which reform would protect the non-bankruptcy options of junior stakeholders, or harm the non-bankruptcy options of senior lenders. We argue that this focus on options misplaced. Protecting options is neither necessary nor sufficient for advancing the goal of a ...


The Black Hole Problem In Commercial Boilerplate, Stephen J. Choi, G. Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott Jan 2016

The Black Hole Problem In Commercial Boilerplate, Stephen J. Choi, G. Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Rote use of a standard form contract term can erode its meaning, a phenomenon made worse when the process of encrustation introduces various formulations of the term. The foregoing process, when it occurs, weakens the communicative properties of boilerplate terms, leading some terms to lose much, if not all, meaning. In theory, if a clause is completely emptied of meaning through this process it can create a contractual “black hole.” The more frequent and thus potentially more pervasive problem arises when, as the term loses meaning, random variations in language appear and persist, resulting in what we term a “grey ...