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Is The Digital Economy Too Concentrated?, Jonathan Klick Nov 2020

Is The Digital Economy Too Concentrated?, Jonathan Klick

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Concentration in the digital economy in the United States has sparked loud criticism and spurred calls for wide-ranging reforms. These reforms include everything from increased enforcement of existing antitrust laws, such as challenging more mergers and breaking up firms, to an abandonment of the consumer welfare standard. Critics cite corruption and more systemic public choice problems, while others invoke the populist origins of antitrust to slay the digital Goliaths. On the other side, there is skepticism regarding these arguments. This chapter continues much of that skepticism.


Stewardship 2021: The Centrality Of Institutional Investor Regulation To Restoring A Fair And Sustainable American Economy, Leo E. Strine Jr. Oct 2020

Stewardship 2021: The Centrality Of Institutional Investor Regulation To Restoring A Fair And Sustainable American Economy, Leo E. Strine Jr.

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In this essay, which formed the basis for the luncheon keynote speech at the Rethinking Stewardship online conference presented by the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at Columbia Law School and ECGI, the European Corporate Governance Institute, the essential, but not sufficient, role of regulation to promote more effective stewardship by institutional investors is discussed. To frame specific policy recommendations that align the responsibilities of institutional investors with the best interests of their human investors in sustainable wealth creation, environmental responsibility, the respectful treatment of stakeholders, and, in particular, the fair pay and treatment of …


Environmental Soft Law As A Governance Strategy, Cary Coglianese Oct 2020

Environmental Soft Law As A Governance Strategy, Cary Coglianese

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Soft law governance relies on nongovernmental institutions that establish and implement voluntary standards. Compared with traditional hard law solutions to societal and economic problems, soft law alternatives promise to be more politically feasible to establish and then easier to adapt in the face of changing circumstances. They may also seem more likely to be flexible in what they demand of targeted businesses and other entities. But can soft law actually work to solve major problems? This Article considers the value of soft law governance through the lens of three major voluntary, nongovernmental initiatives that address environmental concerns: (1) ISO 14001 …


Antitrust: What Counts As Consumer Welfare?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jul 2020

Antitrust: What Counts As Consumer Welfare?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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Antitrust’s consumer welfare principle is accepted in some form by the entire Supreme Court and the majority of other writers. However, it means different things to different people. For example, some members of the Supreme Court can simultaneously acknowledge the antitrust consumer welfare principle even as they approve practices that result in immediate, obvious, and substantial consumer harm. At the same time, however, a properly defined consumer welfare principle is essential if antitrust is to achieve its statutory purpose, which is to pursue practices that injure competition. The wish to make antitrust a more general social justice statute is understandable: …


Understanding The Revenue Potential Of Tax Compliance Investment, Natasha Sarin, Lawrence H. Summers Jul 2020

Understanding The Revenue Potential Of Tax Compliance Investment, Natasha Sarin, Lawrence H. Summers

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In a July 2020 report, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that modest investments in the IRS would generate somewhere between $60 and $100 billion in additional revenue over a decade. This is qualitatively correct. But quantitatively, the revenue potential is much more significant than the CBO report suggests. We highlight five reasons for the CBO’s underestimation: 1) the scale of the investment in the IRS contemplated is modest and far short of sufficient even to return the IRS budget to 2011 levels; 2) the CBO contemplates a limited range of interventions, excluding entirely progress on information reporting and technological advancements; …


Regulatory Abdication In Practice, Cary Coglianese Feb 2020

Regulatory Abdication In Practice, Cary Coglianese

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“Meta-regulation” refers to deliberate efforts to induce private firms to create their own internal regulations—a regulatory strategy sometimes referred to as “management-based regulation” or even “regulation of self-regulation.” Meta-regulation is often presented as a flexible alternative to traditional “command-and-control” regulation. But does meta-regulation actually work? In her recent book, Meta-Regulation in Practice: Beyond Normative Views of Morality and Rationality, Fiona Simon purports to offer a critique of meta-regulation based on an extended case study of the often-feckless process of electricity regulatory reform undertaken in Australia in the early part of this century. Yet neither Simon’s case study nor her book …


On The Meaning Of Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Principle, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2020

On The Meaning Of Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Principle, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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This brief essay addresses the ambiguities in the meaning of “consumer welfare” in antitrust, exploring the differences between the Williamson, Bork, and current understanding of that term. After weighing the alternatives it argues that the consumer welfare principle in antitrust should seek out that state of affairs in which output is maximized, consistent with sustainable competition


Taxing Bitcoin And Blockchains—What The Irs Told Us (And What It Didn’T), David J. Shakow Jan 2020

Taxing Bitcoin And Blockchains—What The Irs Told Us (And What It Didn’T), David J. Shakow

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The IRS recently issued its second description of how it will treat Bitcoin and other blockchain assets. Some of its analysis leaves open questions that invite further consideration, and important issues remain unresolved. Moreover, because the popular Bitcoin blockchain uses a "proof of work" consensus procedure, issues relating to the alternative "proof of stake" procedure have been neglected.


Justice Department's New Position On Patents, Standard Setting, And Injunctions, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2020

Justice Department's New Position On Patents, Standard Setting, And Injunctions, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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A deep split in American innovation policy has arisen between new economy and old economy innovation. In a recent policy statement, the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department takes a position that tilts more toward the old economy. Its December, 2019, policy statement on remedies for Standard Essential Patents issued jointly with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Institute of Standards and Technology reflects this movement.

The policy statement as a whole contains two noteworthy problems: one is a glaring omission, and the other is a mischaracterization of the scope of antitrust liability. Both positions are strongly …


Development On A Cracked Foundation: How The Incomplete Nature Of New Deal Labor Reform Presaged Its Ultimate Decline, Leo E. Strine Jr. Jan 2020

Development On A Cracked Foundation: How The Incomplete Nature Of New Deal Labor Reform Presaged Its Ultimate Decline, Leo E. Strine Jr.

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Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Margaret Levi, and Barry R. Weingast’s excellent essay, Twentieth Century America as a Developing Country, Conflict, Institutional Change and the Evolution of Public Law, celebrates the period during which the National Labor Relations Act facilitated the peaceful resolution of labor disputes and improved the working conditions of American workers. These distinguished authors make a strong case for the essentiality of law in regulating labor relations and the importance of national culture in providing a solid context for the emergence of legal regimes facilitating economic growth and equality. This reply to their essay explores how the New Deal’s failure …


Management-Based Regulation, Cary Coglianese, Shana M. Starobin Jan 2020

Management-Based Regulation, Cary Coglianese, Shana M. Starobin

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Environmental regulators have embraced management-based regulation as a flexible instrument for addressing a range of important problems often poorly addressed by other types of regulations. Under management-based regulation, regulated firms must engage in management-related activities oriented toward addressing targeted problems—such as planning and analysis to mitigate risk and the implementation of internal management systems geared towards continuous improvement. In contrast with more restrictive forms of regulation which can impose one-size-fits-all solutions, management-based regulation offers firms greater operational choice about how to solve regulatory problems, leveraging firms’ internal informational advantage to innovate and search for alternative measures to achieve the intended …


What’S In Your Wallet (And What Should The Law Do About It?), Natasha Sarin Jan 2020

What’S In Your Wallet (And What Should The Law Do About It?), Natasha Sarin

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In traditional markets, firms can charge prices that are significantly elevated relative to their costs only if there is a market failure. However, this is not true in a two-sided market (like Amazon, Uber, and Mastercard), where firms often subsidize one side of the market and generate revenue from the other. This means consideration of one side of the market in isolation is problematic. The Court embraced this view in Ohio v. American Express, requiring that anticompetitive harm on one side of a two-sided market be weighed against benefits on the other side.

Legal scholars denounce this decision, which, …


Private Company Lies, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2020

Private Company Lies, Elizabeth Pollman

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Rule 10b-5’s antifraud catch-all is one of the most consequential pieces of American administrative law and most highly developed areas of judicially-created federal law. Although the rule broadly prohibits securities fraud in both public and private company stock, the vast majority of jurisprudence, and the voluminous academic literature that accompanies it, has developed through a public company lens.

This Article illuminates how the explosive growth of private markets has left huge portions of U.S. capital markets with relatively light securities fraud scrutiny and enforcement. Some of the largest private companies by valuation grow in an environment of extreme information asymmetry …


Distorted Choice In Corporate Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2020

Distorted Choice In Corporate Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr.

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We ordinarily assume that a central objective of every voting process is ensuring an undistorted vote. Recent developments in corporate bankruptcy, which culminates with an elaborate vote, are quite puzzling from this perspective. Two strategies now routinely used in big cases are intended to distort, and clearly do distort, the voting process. Restructuring support agreements (RSAs) and “deathtrap” provisions remove creditors’ ability to vote for or against a proposed reorganization simply on the merits.

This Article offers the first comprehensive analysis of these new distortive techniques. One possible solution is simply to ban distortive techniques, as several scholars advocate with …


A Tale Of Two Markets: Regulation And Innovation In Post-Crisis Mortgage And Structured Finance Markets, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin Jan 2020

A Tale Of Two Markets: Regulation And Innovation In Post-Crisis Mortgage And Structured Finance Markets, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin

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This Article takes the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis to review recent developments in the structured products market, connecting the emergent pattern to post-crisis regulation.

The Article tells a tale of two markets. The financial crisis stemmed from excessive risk-taking and shabby practice in the subprime home mortgage market, a market that owed its existence to the private-label, originate to securitize model. But the pre-crisis boom in private label subprime mortgage-backed securities could never have happened absent back up financing from an array of structured products and vehicles created in the capital markets—the CDOs that found …


The Dormant Foreign Commerce Clause After Wynne, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason Jan 2020

The Dormant Foreign Commerce Clause After Wynne, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason

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This Essay surveys dormant foreign Commerce Clause doctrine to determine what limits it places on state taxation of international income, including both income earned by foreigners in a U.S. state and income earned by U.S. residents abroad. The dormant Commerce Clause similarly limits states’ powers to tax interstate and foreign commerce; in particular, it forbids states from discriminating against interstate or international commerce. But there are differences between the interstate and foreign commerce contexts, including differences in the nationality of affected taxpayers and differences in the impact of state taxes on federal tax and foreign-relations goals. Given current Supreme Court …


Framing The Chicago School Of Antitrust Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp, Fiona Scott Morton Jan 2020

Framing The Chicago School Of Antitrust Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp, Fiona Scott Morton

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The Chicago School of antitrust has benefited from a great deal of law office history, written by admiring advocates rather than more dispassionate observers. This essay attempts a more neutral stance, looking at the ideology, political impulses, and economics that produced the Chicago School of antitrust policy and that account for its durability.

The origins of the Chicago School lie in a strong commitment to libertarianism and nonintervention. Economic models of perfect competition best suited these goals. The early strength of the Chicago School of antitrust was that it provided simple, convincing answers to everything that was wrong with antitrust …


The Post-Chicago Antitrust Revolution: A Retrospective, Christopher S. Yoo Jan 2020

The Post-Chicago Antitrust Revolution: A Retrospective, Christopher S. Yoo

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A symposium examining the contributions of the post-Chicago School provides an appropriate opportunity to offer some thoughts on both the past and the future of antitrust. This afterword reviews the excellent papers with an eye toward appreciating the contributions and limitations of both the Chicago School, in terms of promoting the consumer welfare standard and embracing price theory as the preferred mode of economic analysis, and the post-Chicago School, with its emphasis on game theory and firm-level strategic conduct. It then explores two emerging trends, specifically neo-Brandeisian advocacy for abandoning consumer welfare as the sole goal of antitrust and the …