Intellectual Life Workshop 2017-2018 Schedule

All workshops are on Wednesdays unless otherwise indicated.

Fall 2017

  • Andrea Chandrasekher, UC Davis

    August 28 (Monday)
    12:00 - 1:00pm

    Andrea Chandrasekher's Bio ›

    Paper Title: The Effect of Traffic Accidents in the Urban Environment—Evidence from a Natural Experiment

    Abstract: Deterrence scholars have long studied the effect of law enforcement on crime with only minimal focus on its effect on traffic safety. Moreover, the few studies that have sought to estimate the effect of traffic tickets on traffic accidents have mostly overlooked the special context of the urban environment where the presence of pedestrians and bicyclists raises special safety concerns. The literature’s lack of attention to the effect of traffic enforcement in the urban environment is especially troublesome given that almost all major US cities are now spending millions of dollars on Vision Zero and other urban traffic safety initiatives with very little guidance on how that money should best be used. In this paper, I estimate the effect of traffic tickets on accidents using an originally collected data set and a natural experiment that exploits exogenous variation in traffic tickets from a police work slowdown in NYC, the nation’s largest city. Using the slowdown-induced variation in traffic tickets, I find evidence of a strong deterrence effect. Interestingly, the reduction in traffic accidents works almost entirely through car versus car accidents; there is no statistically significant effect of traffic enforcement on pedestrian versus car accidents or bicyclist versus car accidents. This result suggests that urban traffic safety initiatives that specifically seek to protect pedestrians and bicyclists by investing in increased traffic enforcement may be misguided.

  • June Carbone, University of Minnesota

    September 13
    12:00 - 1:00pm

    June Carbone's Bio ›

    Paper Title: Gender and the Tournament: Reinventing Antidiscrimination Law in an Age of Inequality

    Abstract: Since the 1970’s, antidiscrimination advocates have approached Title VII as though the impact of the law on minorities and women could be considered in isolation.  This article argues that this is a mistake.  Instead, Gender and the Tournament attempts to reclaim Title VII’s original approach, which justified efforts to dismantle segregated workplaces as necessary to both eliminate discrimination and promote economic growth.  Using that approach, this Article is the first to consider how widespread corporate tournaments and growing gender disparities in the upper echelons of the economy are intrinsically intertwined, and how they undermine the core promises of antidiscrimination law.  The Article draws on a pending case challenging the “rank and yank” evaluation system at Microsoft, as well as social science literature regarding narcissism and stereotype expectations, to illustrate how consideration of the legitimacy of competitive pay for performance schemes is essential to combating the intrinsically gendered nature of advancement in the new economy.

  • Emily Taylor Poppe, UC Irvine

    September 27
    12:00 - 1:00pm

    Emily Taylor Poppe's Bio ›

    Paper Title: Hidden Figures: An Empirical Assessment of Federal Pro Se Litigation

    Abstract: There is widespread concern among scholars, court actors, and policymakers that the number of pro se litigants is increasing. However, we have little empirical evidence of the scope of pro se litigation. Much of what we know about self-representation comes from research on individuals’ legal needs and dispute processing behavior, which suggests that pro se litigants are unlikely to be distributed evenly across all types of legal disputes. In addition, research on the legal profession and the effectiveness of lawyers suggests that changes in the rate of pro se litigation, as well as the success of pro se litigants, may also vary by type of case. In this article we use data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to investigate the evolution of pro se litigation in federal court by type of case, and over time and space. The results have implications for our understanding of self-representation and for the development of policies aimed at increasing access to civil justice.

  • Omri Marian, UC Irvine

    October 4
    12:00 - 1:00pm

    Omri Marian's Bio ›

    Paper Title: Is all Corporate Tax Planning Good for Shareholders?

    Abstract: Multiple commentators argue that corporate managers have an affirmative duty to engage in corporate tax planning. Underlying this argument is the assumption that reduced corporate tax liability enhances shareholder value. In this article, I explain that this common perception is frequently incorrect. Corporate tax reduction schemes may increase the overall tax burden on shareholders. I make the following descriptive arguments in this regard: First, I show that in many cases, successful (and legal) corporate tax planning schemes are not Pareto-optimal to shareholders. Some classes of shareholders (usually tax-exempt shareholders) may see a net increase in value, while other shareholders (usually taxable shareholders) experience a net loss. Second, I show that in certain instances it is reasonable to expect that legal corporate tax planning schemes will be overall inefficient. Meaning, the losses to taxable shareholders may exceed the gains to tax-exempt shareholders. Lastly, I show that because of an underappreciated agency problem, shareholders approve inefficient corporate tax plans, even when information about the potential detriment is freely available. The reason is that in U.S. equity markets tax-exempt shareholders hold the majority vote in many cases. Tax-exempt shareholders (unlike taxable shareholders) always stand to benefit from corporate tax planning, and also have an incentive to pay-off managers (and they in fact do so) to secure management support for the transaction. Tax-exempt shareholders and managers thus collude to reduce corporate taxes, by shifting the tax burden to minority shareholders. There are important legal and normative implications to such outcomes: First, the fact that corporate tax planning can be detrimental to shareholders casts serious doubt on the argument that managers have a duty to engage in corporate tax planning. Second, the market dynamics I explore expose a shortcoming of U.S. corporate and securities laws, which allows (pretty much assures, in fact) inefficient transactions to take place. Lastly, corporate tax plans that shift burden to taxable shareholders are unfair. Assuming our government designed our tax system with particular distributive policies in mind, the corporate tax schemes I describe violate such policies through private action that is not between willing parties. I explore several potential remedies to these problems, and conclude that the best course of action is to allow taxable shareholders to vote as a class in all corporate transactions that result in shareholder tax liability.

  • Geoff Ward, UC Irvine (Criminology, Law & Society)

    October 18
    12:00 - 1:00pm

    Geoff Ward's Bio ›

    Paper Title: White Supremacist Policing and Denial of Civil Rights

    Abstract: Prominent U.S. police officials have advocated greater acknowledgement of the role of law enforcement in historical racial injustice, including violence, in hopes of transforming police-community relations. If an encouraging development, these calls for transformative justice understate the scope of this historical and contemporary problem, neglecting the often extra-legal nature of police-involved violence and injustice, its array of spectacular and more subtle forms, and the layered roles of state and non-state actors in perpetrating and sanctioning white supremacist violence. Drawing on historical records of racist violence implicating police, this paper analyzes overlapping problems of white supremacist policing, including racist ideologies and political acts of law enforcement officers and officials, and more routine under-policing of white supremacism by legal authorities. This backdrop of normative racist violence - physical, cultural, and structural – must inform our contemporary transformative justice agenda, including demands for explicit and robust protection from white supremacism in policing.

  • Emily Ryo, University of Southern California

    October 25
    12:00 - 1:00pm

    Emily Ryo's Bio ›

    Paper Title: Representing Immigrants: The Role of Lawyers in Immigration Bond Hearings

    Abstract: Do immigration lawyers matter, and if so, how? This study presents new data and a novel approach to addressing these questions in the context of immigration bond hearings—a critical stage in the removal process. First, I conduct a regression analysis using a matched sample of legally represented and unrepresented detainees and find that represented detainees have significantly higher odds of being granted bond. Second, I explore whether legal representation might impact the efficient operation of the court system and find no relationship between legal representation and judicial efficiency. Third, I examine whether there are procedural and substantive differences between represented and unrepresented hearings. My analysis shows no differences in the judges’ procedural behaviors, but significant differences in the detainees’ level and type of courtroom advocacy. Specifically, represented detainees are more likely to submit documents, to present affirmative arguments for release, and to offer more legally-relevant arguments. Surprisingly, however, I find no evidence that these differences in observable courtroom activities explain the relationship between legal representation and favorable hearing outcomes. These findings underscore the need to investigate not only what lawyers do in the courtroom, but also less tangible factors such as the nature of the lawyers’ relationship to other courtroom actors, and the ways in which the lawyers’ presence in the courtroom might serve a signaling function that advantages their clients.

  • Summer Kim, UC Irvine

    November 1
    12:00 - 1:00pm

    Summer Kim's Bio ›

    Paper Title: Corporate Long Arms

    Abstract: One well-established principle of corporate law is the internal affairs doctrine, which provides that the state of incorporation (the home state) will be the exclusive source for the laws that govern the internal affairs of a corporation. While acknowledging the benefits of certainty, uniformity and predictability that the internal affairs doctrine provide, several commentators have expressed concern that the doctrine favors the interests of managers (who have the power to choose the home state) over the interest of shareholders and other stakeholders in the corporation. This Article suggests corporate long arm statutes as a supplement to the internal affairs doctrine that could level the playing field by taking into account the interests of all corporate stakeholders in deciding what rules will apply to the internal affairs of corporations. A corporate long arm statute directly challenges the internal affairs doctrine by mandating that the laws of another state (the host state) will apply even to the internal affairs of corporations when the host state’s interest in protecting their residents’ interests justify this exception. While a number of states have adopted a corporate long arm provision in their corporate codes, several legal and design defects have prevented corporate long arm statutes in their current forms from doing much work. Here, I propose a new design of corporate long arm statutes which overcomes these limitations and offers a partial solution to some of the persisting and troubling competitive pressures that arise from the competition for corporate charters. Specifically what I propose is that certain protections that are available for corporate stakeholders under the host state rules (but not the home state rules) would become available to their intended beneficiaries when the home state interests in protecting such beneficiaries with respect to that specific internal affair exceed the home state’s corresponding interests. I offer a few examples of its application and show that it is a more cost-effective and politically feasible alternative compared to other solutions that have been proposed such as the federal incorporation statute.

  • Tejas Narechania, UC Berkeley

    November 3 (Friday)
    12:00 - 1:00pm

    Tejas Narechania's Bio ›

    Paper Title: Certiorari, Universality, and a Patent Puzzle

    Abstract: The most important determinant of a case’s chances for Supreme Court review is a circuit split: If two Courts of Appeals have decided the same issue differently, review is substantially more likely. But practically every appeal in a patent case makes its way to a single court—the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. How, then, does the Supreme Court decide whether to grant certiorari in a patent case?

    The petitions for certiorari in the Court’s patent docket suggest an answer: The Supreme Court looks for splits anyways. These splits, however, are of a different sort. Rather than consider whether two Courts of Appeals have decided the same issue differently, the Court looks to whether two fields of law conflict over the application of the same trans-substantive doctrine. Such “field splits” are an unusual candidate for Supreme Court attention. After all, the Court’s interest in circuit splits is motivated by a desire to preserve uniformity in federal law. But field splits, unlike circuit splits, do not give rise to forum shopping concerns, do not undermine the predictability of the law, nor otherwise implicate the legal values that counsel in favor of uniformity. Instead, the Supreme Court’s attention to field splits may suggest that universality—consistency across substantive fields of law—is an important (but unstated) priority in certiorari decisionmaking.

    The exercise of this universality interest through certiorari decisions in patent cases has several consequences for the Supreme Court’s agenda. First, we must better understand—and the Court must better explain—how to distinguish those field splits that implicate its universality-related concerns from those that do not. Moreover, the Supreme Court should eliminate patent’s privileged place in certiorari practice by applying this universality value across doctrinal fields.

  • Manoj Mate, Harvard

    November 8
    12:00 - 1:00pm

    Manoj Mate's Bio ›

    Paper Title: Global Solar Trade Wars and the WTO

    Abstract: This article analyzes the evolving state of international trade law governing green industrial policy through case studies of three recent solar industrial trade disputes in the World Trade Organization: the Canada Feed-in-Tariff  (E.U./Japan) dispute, the U.S.—Countervailing Measures (China) dispute, and the ongoing India-Solar Cells(U.S.) dispute.   Through close study of these disputes, the article analyzes variation in state institutions of political economy, and asymmetries in the political structure of green industrial policies.  The article argues that the existing framework of international trade law has failed to meaningfully address the problem of state opacity in political economy, and to account for fundamental asymmetries in political structure and allocation of power across different systems. The article then analyzes both policy and normative implications of the WTO’s current approach to solar disputes in terms of equity, sustainability, and development in each of these countries.  It concludes by examining how both China and India have each adopted distinct approaches to solar industrial development, and the implications of these approaches for the broader global trade governance regime.

Spring 2018