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Full-Text Articles in Law

How To Repair Unconscionable Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar Dec 2007

How To Repair Unconscionable Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

Several doctrines of contract law allow courts to strike down excessively one-sided terms. A large literature explored which terms should be viewed as excessive, but a related question is often ignored—what provision should replace the vacated excessive term? This paper begins by suggesting that there are three competing criteria for a replacement provision: (1) the most reasonable term; (2) a punitive term, strongly unfavorable to the overreaching party; and (3) the maximally tolerable term. The paper explores in depth the third criterion—the maximally tolerable term—under which the excessive term is reduced merely to the highest level that ...


Paying To Save: Tax Withholding And Asset Allocation Among Low- And Moderate-Income Taxpayers, Michael S. Barr, Jane Dokko Nov 2007

Paying To Save: Tax Withholding And Asset Allocation Among Low- And Moderate-Income Taxpayers, Michael S. Barr, Jane Dokko

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

We analyze the phenomenon that low- and moderate-income (LMI) tax filers exhibit a “preference for over-withholding” their taxes, a measure we derive from a unique set of questions administered in a dataset of 1,003 households, which we collected through the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan. We argue that the relationship between their withholding preference and portfolio allocation across liquid and illiquid assets is consistent with models with present-biased preferences, and that individuals exhibit self-control problems when making their consumption and saving decisions. Our results support a model in which individuals use commitment devices to constrain their ...


The Investor Compensation Fund, Alicia Davis Evans Nov 2007

The Investor Compensation Fund, Alicia Davis Evans

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

The prevailing view among securities regulation scholars is that compensating victims of secondary market securities fraud is inefficient. As the theory goes, diversified investors are as likely to be on the gaining side of a transaction tainted by fraud as the losing side. Therefore, such investors should have no expected net losses from fraud because their expected losses will be matched by expected gains. This Article argues that this view is flawed; even diversified investors can suffer substantial losses from fraud, presenting a compelling case for compensation.

The interest in compensation, however, should be advanced by better means than are ...


Private Regulation Of Insider Trading In The Shadow Of Lax Public Enforcement (And A Strong Neighbor): Evidence From Canadian Firms, Anita I. Anand, Laura N. Beny Nov 2007

Private Regulation Of Insider Trading In The Shadow Of Lax Public Enforcement (And A Strong Neighbor): Evidence From Canadian Firms, Anita I. Anand, Laura N. Beny

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

Few studies have examined firms’ voluntary self-regulation of insider trading. In this article, we investigate the characteristics of Canadian firms that voluntarily adopt policies restricting trading by their insiders when they are already subject to insider trading laws. We hypothesize that certain firm-specific characteristics -- such as larger size, higher market-to-book ratio, greater firm-specific uncertainty, the presence of controlling shareholders, and cross-listing into the United States where insider trading laws are more vigorously enforced -- are positively related to a firm's propensity to adopt an insider trading policy (ITP), because insider trading is likely to be more costly for firms with ...


Genes As Tags: The Tax Implications Of Widely Available Genetic Information, Kyle D. Logue, Joel B. Slemrod Nov 2007

Genes As Tags: The Tax Implications Of Widely Available Genetic Information, Kyle D. Logue, Joel B. Slemrod

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

This paper examines how progress in genetics' specifically, the proliferation of knowledge about the human genome' may influence the feasibility and desirability of a tax that is based on individual human endowments or ability. The paper explores various forms that such a genetic endowment tax-and-transfer regime might take and identifies some of the benefits and costs of such a regime. The authors take no position on whether a genetic endowment tax would be desirable or not. However, one contribution of the paper is to observe that current law in the U.S., which restricts the use of genetic information by ...


Do Investors In Controlled Firms Value Insider Trading Laws? International Evidence, Laura N. Beny Oct 2007

Do Investors In Controlled Firms Value Insider Trading Laws? International Evidence, Laura N. Beny

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

This article characterizes insider trading in controlled firms as an agency problem. Using a standard agency model of corporate value diversion through insider trading by a controlling shareholder, I derive testable hypotheses about the relationship between corporate value and insider trading laws. The article tests these hypotheses using cross-sectional data on firms from a group of developed countries. The results show that stringent insider trading laws and enforcement are associated with greater corporate valuation among firms in common law countries, a result that is consistent with the claim that insider trading laws can mitigate agency costs. In contrast, insider trading ...


The Rise And Fall Of Arm's Length: A Study In The Evolution Of U.S. International Taxation, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Sep 2007

The Rise And Fall Of Arm's Length: A Study In The Evolution Of U.S. International Taxation, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

A revised and updated version of the 1995 article (Va. Tax Review) on the evolution of US transfer pricing rules.


Business Income (Article 7 Oecd Mc), Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Kimberly A. Clausing Sep 2007

Business Income (Article 7 Oecd Mc), Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Kimberly A. Clausing

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

The 2006 OECD Report on attribution of profits to permanent establishments states that its recommendation “was not constrained by either the original intent or by the historical practice and interpretation of Article 7.” Moreover, the Report recommends a redrafting of both the Article itself and the Commentary. Given this, it seems appropriate to begin by asking: If we were working on a clean slate, what would be the best way to tax MNEs at source in the light of 21st century business practices?

The beginning point has to be that a modern MNE does not operate as if its constituent ...


The Prisoners’ (Plea Bargain) Dilemma, Oren Bar-Gill, Omri Ben-Shahar Jul 2007

The Prisoners’ (Plea Bargain) Dilemma, Oren Bar-Gill, Omri Ben-Shahar

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

How can a prosecutor, who has only limited resources, credibly threaten so many defendants with costly and risky trials and extract plea bargains involving harsh sentences? Had defendants refused to settle, many of them would not have been charged or would have escaped with lenient sanctions. But such collective stonewalling requires coordination among defendants, which is difficult if not impossible to attain. Moreover, the prosecutor, by strategically timing and targeting her plea offers, can create conflicts of interest among defendants, frustrating any attempt at coordination. The substantial bargaining power of the resource-constrained prosecutor is therefore the product of the collective ...


A Proposal To Adopt Formulary Apportionment For Corporate Income Taxation: The Hamilton Project, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Kimberly Clausing Jul 2007

A Proposal To Adopt Formulary Apportionment For Corporate Income Taxation: The Hamilton Project, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Kimberly Clausing

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

The current system of taxing the income of multinational firms in the United States is flawed across multiple dimensions. The system provides an artificial tax incentive to earn income in low-tax countries, rewards aggressive tax planning, and is not compatible with any common metrics of efficiency. The U.S. system is also notoriously complex; observers are nearly unanimous in lamenting the heavy compliance burdens and the impracticality of coherent enforcement. Further, despite a corporate tax rate one standard deviation above that of other OECD countries, the U.S. corporate tax system raises relatively little revenue, due in part to the ...


What Do Nonprofits Maximize? Hospital Service Provision And Market Ownership Mix, Jill R. Horwitz, Austin Nichols Jul 2007

What Do Nonprofits Maximize? Hospital Service Provision And Market Ownership Mix, Jill R. Horwitz, Austin Nichols

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

Conflicting theories of the nonprofit firm have existed for several decades yet empirical research has not resolved these debates, partly because the theories are not easily testable but also because empirical research generally considers organizations in isolation rather than in markets. Here we examine three types of hospitals – nonprofit, for-profit, and government – and their spillover effects. We look at the effect of for-profit ownership share within markets in two ways, on the provision of medical services and on operating margins at the three types of hospitals. We find that nonprofit hospitals’ medical service provision systematically varies by market mix. We ...


The Screening Effect Of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, Stephen Choi, Karen K. Nelson, Adam C. Pritchard Mar 2007

The Screening Effect Of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, Stephen Choi, Karen K. Nelson, Adam C. Pritchard

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

Prior research shows that the PSLRA increased the significance of merit-related factors, such as the presence of an accounting restatement or insider selling, in determining the incidence and outcomes of securities fraud class actions. (Johnson, Nelson, and Pritchard, 2007). This result, however, is consistent with two possible hypotheses. First, the PSLRA may have reduced solely the incidence of non-meritorious litigation. Second, the PSLRA may have changed the definition of merit, effectively precluding claims that would have survived and produced a settlement pre-PSLRA. This paper tests these alternative hypotheses. We find that pre-PSLRA claims that settled for nuisance value would be ...


Can Corporate Governance Reforms Increase Firms' Market Values: Evidence From India, Bernard S. Black, Vikramaditya Khanna Feb 2007

Can Corporate Governance Reforms Increase Firms' Market Values: Evidence From India, Bernard S. Black, Vikramaditya Khanna

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

A central problem in studying the valuation effects of corporate governance reforms is that most reforms affect all firms in a country. Thus, if share prices move when governance reforms are announced, the price changes may reflect the reforms, but could also reflect other new information. We address this identification issue by studying India’s adoption in 2000 of major governance reforms (Clause 49), a number of which resemble and predate Sarbanes Oxley. Clause 49 requires, among other things, audit committees, a minimum number of independent directors, and CEO/CFO certification of financial statements and internal controls. The reforms were ...


Tax Competition, Tax Arbitrage, And The Internation Tax Regime, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2007

Tax Competition, Tax Arbitrage, And The Internation Tax Regime, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

This paper argues that a coherent international tax regime exists, embodied in both the tax treaty network and in domestic laws, and that it forms a significant part of international law (both treaty-based and customary). The practical implication is that countries are not free to adopt any international tax rules they please, but rather operate in the context of the regime, which changes in the same ways international law changes over time. Thus, unilateral action is possible, but is also restricted, and countries are generally reluctant to take unilateral actions that violate the basic norms that underlie the regime. Those ...