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1997

Series

Columbia Law School

Articles 1 - 30 of 49

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Invisible Barbecue, Eben Moglen Jan 1997

The Invisible Barbecue, Eben Moglen

Faculty Scholarship

Past legislation subsidizing the development of infrastructural technology has borne the mark of political corruption. The subject matter of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 falls within the same category of legislation that has fallen prey to this process in the past. In an effort to discern whether such forces are at work today, Professor Moglen undertakes a critical examination of the metaphors that pervade the current scholarly discourse on the subject of telecommunications law. Terms such as "Superhighway," "Broadcasting," and "Market for Eyeballs" reveal a great deal about the implicit assumptions at work behind the current scholarship and legislation, and ...


Explaining The Pattern Of Secured Credit, Ronald J. Mann Jan 1997

Explaining The Pattern Of Secured Credit, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

Granting collateral to secure loans is a prominent feature of the U.S. economy, but, surprisingly, we do not understand how borrowers and lenders decide whether to engage in a secured or an unsecured transaction. In this Article, Professor Mann argues that existing theories of secured lending are inadequate because the theories' predictions have not been tested against empirical data. To understand the actual pattern of secured credit, Professor Mann interviewed more than twenty borrowers and lenders in various sectors of the economy. Based on the evidence gathered in these interviews, as well as on preexisting empirical studies, this Article ...


Searching For Negotiability In Payment And Credit Systems, Ronald J. Mann Jan 1997

Searching For Negotiability In Payment And Credit Systems, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

Although academics spend a great deal of time analyzing the fine details of the rules that govern negotiable instruments, they have spent little or no time attempting to ascertain whether those rules play a significant role in the modern economy. This article takes up that question from an empirical perspective, presenting evidence from more than a dozen interviews with professionals in a variety of different financial markets, a survey of actual documents used in various financial transactions, site visits to a number of financial institutions, and a survey of published judicial decisions in the checking area.??Relying on that evidence ...


Lifetime Employment: Labor Peace And The Evolution Of Japanese Corporate Governance, Ronald J. Gilson, Mark J. Roe Jan 1997

Lifetime Employment: Labor Peace And The Evolution Of Japanese Corporate Governance, Ronald J. Gilson, Mark J. Roe

Faculty Scholarship

In Japan, large firms' relationships with their employees differ from those prevailing in large American firms. Large Japanese firms guarantee many employees lifetime employment, and the firms' boards consist of insider employees. Neither relationship is common in the United States. Japanese lifetime employment is said to encourage firms and employees to invest in human capital. We examine the reported benefits of the firm's promise of lifetime employment, but conclude that it is no more than peripheral to human capital investments. Rather, the 'dark' side of Japanese labor practice – constricting the external labor market – likely yielded the human capital benefits ...


An Economic Analysis Of The Guaranty Contract, Avery W. Katz Jan 1997

An Economic Analysis Of The Guaranty Contract, Avery W. Katz

Faculty Scholarship

Guaranty arrangements, in which one person stands as surety for a second person's obligation to a third, are ubiquitous in commercial transactions and in commercial law. In recent years, however, scholarly attention to the topic has been scant; and there is still no theoretical treatment of this body of law or practice from a economic policy perspective. This paper, accordingly, attempts to outline the basic economic logic underlying the guaranty relationship, and applies the results to a variety of specific issues in government policy and private planning. It poses and answers three main questions: First, why would a creditor ...


Indemnity Of Legal Fees, Avery W. Katz Jan 1997

Indemnity Of Legal Fees, Avery W. Katz

Faculty Scholarship

This article surveys the effects of legal fee shifting on a variety of decisions arising before and during the litigation process. Section 2 provides a brief survey of the practical situations in which legal fee shifting does and does not arise. Section 3 analyzes the effects of indemnification on the incentives to expend resources in litigated cases. Section 4 examines how indemnification influences the decisions to bring and to defend against suit, and Section 5 assesses its effects on the choice between settlement and trial. Section 6 addresses the interaction between the allocation of legal fees and the parties' incentives ...


Contract Formation And Interpretation, Avery W. Katz Jan 1997

Contract Formation And Interpretation, Avery W. Katz

Faculty Scholarship

Much research in law and economics, following Coase's insight that the effects of a legal rule depend on the ability of those whom it governs to bargain around it, has undertaken to explain how substantive entitlements such as property rights influence the bargaining process. Perhaps more important than any substantive rights or duties in this regard, however, is the extensive body of contract doctrine that governs the procedural mechanics of exchange. The formal rules of contract formation, by attaching consequences to the various acts and omissions that bargainers can choose from in a negotiation, affect the parties' incentives to ...


Territoriality, Risk Perception, And Counterproductive Legal Structures: The Case Of Waste Facility Siting, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 1997

Territoriality, Risk Perception, And Counterproductive Legal Structures: The Case Of Waste Facility Siting, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

The siting of hazardous and nuclear waste facilities has proven to be a task of enormous difficulty in our federal system. In this Article, the Author argues that one of the major causal factors for this difficulty is that the legal regime surrounding waste facility siting decisions is not structured in a manner sensitive to the human factors involved. The siting of a hazardous waste facility is likely to generate a negative community response where the imposition of externally made decisions and externally generated wastes fails to take into account the innate human trait of territoriality. Territoriality is a powerful ...


Does Public Choice Theory Justify Judicial Activism After All?, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 1997

Does Public Choice Theory Justify Judicial Activism After All?, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

Some legal scholars have argued that public choice theory justifies certain kinds of judicial activism. Others have said it does not. Given the present state of the debate, it would appear that those finding no necessary support for judicial activism have the stronger argument. I will suggest, however, that if we tweak the analysis a little further, it may turn out that public choice theory provides limited support for judicial activism after all.


Ethics, Professionalism, And Meaningful Work, William H. Simon Jan 1997

Ethics, Professionalism, And Meaningful Work, William H. Simon

Faculty Scholarship

Much of the anxiety and dissatisfaction associated with legal ethics arises from the categorical quality of the bar's dominant norms. These norms take the form of relatively inflexible rules insensitive to all but a few of the circumstances of the cases they govern. Hence they often require the lawyer to take actions that contribute to injustice or to refrain from actions that would avert injustice.

For example, many lawyers believe that a criminal defender is obliged to impeach a truthful complaining witness even though the only immediate purpose of this tactic is to encourage the trier to draw a ...


The Rise Of Sublocal Structures In Urban Governance, Richard Briffault Jan 1997

The Rise Of Sublocal Structures In Urban Governance, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

The dominant law and economics model of local government, based on the work of Charles M. Tiebout, assumes that decentralization of power to local governments promotes the efficient delivery of public goods and services. In his seminal article, A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures, Tiebout contended that the existence of a large number of local governments in any given area permits a "market solution" to the question of how to determine the level and mix of government services that people desire. The multiplicity of local governments in an area means that, as long as each locality is free to adopt ...


The Net Profits Puzzle, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 1997

The Net Profits Puzzle, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

The use of "net profits" clauses in the movie business poses a problem. The standard perception is that Hollywood accounting results in successful films showing no net profits. If that is indeed so, then why have they survived for over four decades? This Essay argues that a successful movie will fail to yield net profits only if a "gross participant" (a major star whose compensation is in part a function of the film's gross receipts) becomes associated with the film. Since the net profits participants typically are associated with a project first, the question becomes: Why would they be ...


The "Battle Of The Forms": Fairness, Efficiency, And The Best-Shot Rule, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 1997

The "Battle Of The Forms": Fairness, Efficiency, And The Best-Shot Rule, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

After the parties agree to a sale, the buyer sends a purchase order with one set of boilerplate terms on the reverse side; the seller responds with an acknowledgment and invoice with another set of boilerplate terms. Do they have a contract? If so, on what terms? This so-called "battle of the forms" has given rise to a great outpouring of scholarship and a legislative solution widely perceived as inartfully drafted and generally unsatisfactory. In particular, the Code solution has been criticized because it attempted to solve both the formation and interpretation problems with one rule. The Uniform Commercial Code ...


Asteroids And Comets: U.S. And International Law And The Lowest-Probability, Highest Consequence Risk, Michael B. Gerrard, Anna W. Barber Jan 1997

Asteroids And Comets: U.S. And International Law And The Lowest-Probability, Highest Consequence Risk, Michael B. Gerrard, Anna W. Barber

Faculty Scholarship

Asteroids and comets pose unique policy problems. They are the ultimate example of a low probability, high consequence event: no one in recorded human history is confirmed to have ever died from an asteroid or a comet, but the odds are that at some time in the next several centuries (and conceivably next year) an asteroid or a comet will cause mass localized destruction and that at some time in the coming half million years (and conceivably next year), an asteroid or a comet will kill several billion people. The sudden extinction of the dinosaurs, and most other species 65 ...


What's Wrong With Sexual Harassment, Katherine M. Franke Jan 1997

What's Wrong With Sexual Harassment, Katherine M. Franke

Faculty Scholarship

In this article, Professor Franke asks and answers a seemingly simple question: why is sexual harassment a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? She argues that the link between sexual harassment and sex discrimination has been undertheorized b9 the Supreme Court. In the absence of a principled theory of the wrong of sexual harassment, Professor Franke argues that lower courts have developed a body of sexual harassment law that trivializes the legal norm against sex discrimination. After illustrating how the Supreme Court has not provided an adequate theory of sexual harassment as ...


Old Chief V. United States: Stipulating Away Prosecutorial Accountability?, Daniel Richman Jan 1997

Old Chief V. United States: Stipulating Away Prosecutorial Accountability?, Daniel Richman

Faculty Scholarship

Earlier this year, in Old Chief v. United States, the Supreme Court finally resolved a circuit split on a nagging evidentiary issue: When a defendant charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm offers to satisfy one of the statute's elements by stipulating to the existence of a prior felony conviction, may the government decline the stipulation and prove the existence and the nature of that prior felony?

The question of evidence law resolved in Old Chief is not particularly earth-shattering. Indeed, while the Court divided five to four on the issue, neither Justice Souter's ...


Standard Form Contracts, Avery W. Katz Jan 1997

Standard Form Contracts, Avery W. Katz

Faculty Scholarship

Among legal commentators, standard form contracts have long been received with distrust, and the rules governing their interpretation have engendered considerable controversy. While economic analysis has little to say regarding the libertarian objection to standard form contracts or their relationship to personal autonomy, it can help evaluate their effects on efficiency and the distribution of the gains from trade. From such a perspective, standard forms should be analyzed like any other productive input, comparable to design, marketing, and technical support. Whether their use raises any special regulatory or policy concerns, therefore, depends on their implications for the standard litany of ...


Private Ownership And Corporate Performance: Some Lessons From Transition Economies, Roman Frydman, Cheryl W. Gray, Marek P. Hessel, Andrzej Rapaczynski Jan 1997

Private Ownership And Corporate Performance: Some Lessons From Transition Economies, Roman Frydman, Cheryl W. Gray, Marek P. Hessel, Andrzej Rapaczynski

Faculty Scholarship

Data on mid-sized firms in three transition economies provide strong evidence that private ownership – for worker ownership – improves corporate performance. And the privatized firms' superior ability to generate revenues allows those firms to sustain or expand employment.

Using a large sample of data on mid-sized firms in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, Frydman, Gray, Hessel, and Rapacynski compare the performance of privatized and state firms in the environment of the postcommunist transition.

They find strong evidence that private ownership – for worker ownership – improves corporate performance. They find no evidence of the privatization shock that was supposed to afflict the ...


William J. Brennan, Jr., American – In Memoriam, Gerard E. Lynch Jan 1997

William J. Brennan, Jr., American – In Memoriam, Gerard E. Lynch

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Homosexuals, Torts, And Dangerous Things, Katherine M. Franke Jan 1997

Homosexuals, Torts, And Dangerous Things, Katherine M. Franke

Faculty Scholarship

Negligent, intentional, and strict liability torts. From a canonical standpoint, whatever else one might teach, it is not a first-year torts course if these three concepts are not covered. Torts has a canon, even a Restatement. Yet a canon evolves only after some criteria of value has been established such that privileged texts can be identified according to some authoritative standard. In other words, a canon is the result of a process by which a rule of recognition identifies authoritative texts.

At what point can we say that torts became a field and an intact legal subject, the canon of ...


The Bylaw Battlefield: Can Institutions Change The Outcome Of Corporate Control Contests?, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 1997

The Bylaw Battlefield: Can Institutions Change The Outcome Of Corporate Control Contests?, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

What, if anything, can institutional investors do to influence the course and outcome of corporate control contests? The traditional answer was relatively little. To be sure, institutions could tender their shares in a tender offer or vote in a proxy contest to oust the incumbent board, but such a role was essentially reactive and contingent. It required that an offer actually be made before institutions could respond on an after-the-fact basis. Similarly, institutions have occasionally conducted precatory proxy campaigns calling upon the board to redeem its poison pill, but management was free to ignore these requests (and has done so).


The Truth About Secured Financing, Robert E. Scott Jan 1997

The Truth About Secured Financing, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

The debate over the social value of secured credit (and the appropriate priority for secured claims in bankruptcy) is entering its nineteenth year. Yet the continuing publication of succeeding generations of articles exploring the topic have yielded precious little in the way of an emerging scholarly consensus about the nature and function of secured credit. Put simply, we still do not have a theory, of finance that explains why firms sometimes (but not always) issue secured debt rather than unsecured debt or equity. Moreover (and perhaps because of the lack of any plausible general theory), we lack any persuasive empirical ...


The Evolution Of Adolescence: A Developmental Perspective On Juvenile Justice Reform, Elizabeth S. Scott, Thomas Grisso Jan 1997

The Evolution Of Adolescence: A Developmental Perspective On Juvenile Justice Reform, Elizabeth S. Scott, Thomas Grisso

Faculty Scholarship

The legal response to juvenile crime is undergoing revolutionary change, and its ultimate shape is uncertain. The traditional juvenile court, grounded in optimism about the potential for rehabilitation of young offenders, has long been the target of criticism, and even its defenders have been forced to acknowledge that it has failed to meet its objectives. Beginning in the late 1960s, when the Supreme Court introduced procedural regularity to delinquency proceedings in In re Gault, courts and legislatures began to slowly chip away at the foundations of the juvenile justice system. Recent developments have accelerated and intensified that process, as policy-makers ...


International Aspects Of Fundamental Tax Reconstructing: Practice Or Principle, Michael J. Graetz Jan 1997

International Aspects Of Fundamental Tax Reconstructing: Practice Or Principle, Michael J. Graetz

Faculty Scholarship

The globalization of economic activity, including the expansion of international trade, the amazing ability of international capital markets to transfer capital rapidly across borders, and the movement in Europe toward greater economic unification, have made it more difficult for nations independently to fashion tax laws that properly balance their own equity, economic efficiency and simplicity goals. This is what makes this conference to analyze the international aspects of recent proposals to replace the federal income tax with some form of consumption tax, with particular emphasis on the Nunn-Domenici "USA" tax and the Armey-Shelby flat tax ("flat tax"), so important. As ...


Recent Legislation: Constitutional Law – Congress Imposes New Restrictions On Use Of Funds By The Legal Services Corporation – Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions And Appropriations Act Of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321, Benjamin L. Liebman Jan 1997

Recent Legislation: Constitutional Law – Congress Imposes New Restrictions On Use Of Funds By The Legal Services Corporation – Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions And Appropriations Act Of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321, Benjamin L. Liebman

Faculty Scholarship

Fierce political battles have raged about the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) for much of its twenty-three year history. Critics have attacked LSC for pursuing a "radical agenda" and for "engaging in dubious litigation that is of no real benefit to poor people," while supporters have termed LSC "the one program in the entire war on poverty that made a difference" and have decried the "campaign to deny the right of legal representation to the poor." Last year, in the Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996 (OCRAA), Congress reduced LSC funding by thirty percent – to $278 million in fiscal ...


Deregulatory Takings, Breach Of The Regulatory Contract, And The Telecommunications Act Of 1996, William J. Baumol, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 1997

Deregulatory Takings, Breach Of The Regulatory Contract, And The Telecommunications Act Of 1996, William J. Baumol, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

Professors Baumol and Merrill reply to Deregulatory Takings and Breach of the Regulatory Contract, published last year in this Review, which argued that the price incumbents may charge potential competitors for bottleneck facilities under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 should be based not on forward-looking costs but on historical costs. Professors Baumol and Merrill contend that pricing with reference to historical costs would depart from the principles called for by economic analysis for efficient pricing and they further argue that neither the Takings Clause nor the regulatory contract precludes the use of forward-looking costs in setting prices. If a taking ...


Strategy And Force In The Liquidation Of Secured Debt, Ronald J. Mann Jan 1997

Strategy And Force In The Liquidation Of Secured Debt, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

The question of why parties use secured debt is one of the most fundamental questions in commercial finance. The commonplace answer focuses on force: A grant of collateral to a lender enhances the lender's ability to collect its debt by enhancing the lender's ability to take possession of the collateral by force and sell it to satisfy the debt. That perspective draws considerable support from the design of the major legal institutions that support secured debt: Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code and the less uniform state laws regarding real estate mortgages.

Both of those institutions are ...


Explaining The Pattern Of Secured Credit, Ronald J. Mann Jan 1997

Explaining The Pattern Of Secured Credit, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

Granting collateral to secure loans is a prominent feature of the U.S. economy, but, surprisingly, we do not understand how borrowers and lenders decide whether to engage in a secured or an unsecured transaction. In this Article, Professor Mann argues that existing theories of secured lending are inadequate because the theories' predictions have not been tested against empirical data. To understand the actual pattern of secured credit, Professor Mann interviewed more than twenty borrowers and lenders in various sectors of the economy. Based on the evidence gathered in these interviews, as well as on preexisting empirical studies, this Article ...


Employees, Pensions, And The New Economic Order, Jeffrey N. Gordon Jan 1997

Employees, Pensions, And The New Economic Order, Jeffrey N. Gordon

Faculty Scholarship

The "New Economic Order" in the United States is a regime of trade liberalization, a robust market in corporate control, and labor market flexibility. Among the consequences over the 1980-1995 period is a divergence between the growth rate of corporate profits and stocks prices, which have increased by approximately 250% in real terms, and wages, which have barely increased at all, except for the top quintile. Contrary to popular belief employees have not significantly participated through their pension funds in this stock market appreciation. In the historically dominant defined benefit pension plan, the sponsoringfirm, not the employee, is the residual ...


Congressional Reviews Of Agency Regulations, Daniel Cohen, Peter L. Strauss Jan 1997

Congressional Reviews Of Agency Regulations, Daniel Cohen, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

On March 29, 1996, President Clinton signed Public Law 104-121, the Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996. Title II, the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 ("Act"), among other things, added a new chapter 8 to Title 5 of the United States Code. Chapter 8 requires congressional review of agency regulations. Beginning March 29, 1996, all federal agencies, including independent agencies, are required to submit each final and interim final rule for review by Congress and to the General Accounting Office (GAO) before the final or interim final rule can take effect (hereinafter final and interim final ...