Bulletin

Bulletin

Bulletin

Regulatory Takings Without Confiscatory Returns

In regulated industries, including telecommunications, electric power, and natural gas, there has been a dramatic substitution of price cap regulation (PCR) for rate-of-return regulation (RRR). Despite this sea change in regulatory regimes, the Hope Standard, which protects the regulated firm from confiscatory rates so that it remains a financially viable enterprise, continues to serve as […]

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What Can Managers Privately Disclose to Investors?

Regulators have long been aware that differential access to information can undermine the efficiency and fairness of financial markets. In an effort to place investors on equal footing, the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2000 created Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD), which prohibits public firms from disclosing material information to certain parties but not others. […]

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Shaming Big Pharma

The FDA recently published a list of top branded drug companies that are suspected of purposely blocking competition from the generic drug industry. Calling out big pharma by “naming and shaming” them into good behavior is an innovative, still largely experimental, regulatory tool designed to harness public opinion and build on pharma’s reputational sensitivities. This […]

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The Mandatory Repatriation Tax Is Unconstitutional

In late 2017, Congress passed the first major tax reform in over three decades. This Essay considers the constitutional concerns raised by Section 965 (the “Mandatory Repatriation Tax”), a central provision of the new tax law that imposes a one-time tax on U.S.-based multinationals’ accumulated foreign earnings. First, this Essay argues that Congress lacks the […]

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Reforming the True-Sale Doctrine

The true-sale doctrine is central to the multi-trillion dollar asset-backed securities (ABS) market. The assets backing ABS are only bankruptcy-remote if they were assigned in a true sale, rather than as collateral for a loan, and it is the true-sale doctrine that distinguishes sales from loans. Despite its importance, the doctrine is inconsistent, lacks normative […]

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The Modigliani-Miller Theorem at 60: The Long-Overlooked Legal Applications of Finance’s Foundational Theorem

2018 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of Franco Modigliani and Merton Miller’s The Cost of Capital, Corporation Finance, and the Theory of Investment, which purports to demonstrate that a firm’s value is independent of its capital structure. Widely hailed as the foundation of modern finance, their article is little known by lawyers and […]

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In-House Regulators: Documenting the Impact of Regulation on Internal Firm Structure

In a deregulatory environment, what do regulated firms do? The standard assumption is simple: firms revert to their pre-regulatory form. This Essay challenges that basic assumption. Increasingly, regulation is conducted through broad standards foisted on firms to implement internally. Congress articulates a policy goal; agencies enact specific standards for regulated entities; and firms are left […]

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The $1 Trillion Question: New Approaches to Regulating Stock Buybacks

Stock buybacks—transactions in which public companies buy back their own equity securities on the open market—are on track to reach $1 trillion in 2018. Such repurchases manipulate the market price for issuer securities. They represent a choice by firms to prioritize shareholder payouts over other uses of corporate funds, contributing to widening economic inequality. Currently, […]

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The Quiet Undoing: How Regional Electricity Market Reforms Threaten State Clean Energy Goals

In a series of largely unnoticed but extremely consequential moves, two regional electricity market operators are pursuing reforms to make it more difficult for states to achieve their clean energy goals. The federal energy regulator, FERC, has already approved one such reform and ordered a second market operator to go farther in punishing state-supported clean […]

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Electric Power Resilience: The Challenges for Utilities and Regulators

Few people doubt that the United States will continue to experience long-lasting electric power outages affecting a large number of people and businesses (e.g., outages from Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and severe hurricanes in Florida). Some industry observers believe that the resilience of the U.S. electric-power network is deficient, and if industry […]