Notice & Comment

Duke Law Journal’s 53rd Annual Administrative Law Symposium: Request for Papers

The Duke Law Journal invites papers for its 53rd Annual Administrative Law Symposium, to be held in spring 2023 at Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina. Professor Cass Sunstein of Harvard University will be the headline speaker and centerpiece author for the symposium and its accompanying Duke Law Journal May 2023 publication issue. Professor Sunstein’s Article will be titled “On the Evaluation of Behaviorally Informed Interventions.” (See abstract below.) To accompany this piece, the Duke Law Journal is seeking papers that center the discussion around the application of behavioral economics, and/or other forms of evaluative criteria, in administrative law.

Professor Sunstein is the founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School. From 2009 to 2012, he was Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), and in 2020, the World Health Organization appointed him as Chair of its technical advisory group on Behavioural Insights and Sciences for Health.

The Duke Law Journal’s Administrative Law Symposium has been the premier administrative law event for five decades. Previous symposia topics include:

  • Automating the Administrative State
  • The Future of Chevron Deference
  • Charting the New Landscape of Administrative Adjudication
  • Exit and the Administrative State
  • Inclusion, Exclusion, and the Administrative State
  • Intellectual Property Exceptionalism in Administrative Law
  • Is the Appointments Process Broken? Insights from Practice, Process, and Theory
  • Taking Administrative Law “to Tax”

This Administrative Law Symposium has a long history of hosting the top administrative law scholars. Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, and Judge Patricia Wald participated in Duke Law Journal’s 1993, 1989, and 1997 Administrative Law Symposia, respectively. In more recent years, several prominent professors and professionals have participated in these symposia, including Stuart Benjamin (Duke), Chai Feldblum (former EEOC Commissioner), Steven Croley (Michigan), Julius Genachowski (former FCC Chairman), Paul Light (NYU), Nina Mendelson (Michigan), Anne Joseph O’Connell (Stanford), W. Kip Viscusi (Vanderbilt), Dick Pierce (George Washington University), Thomas Merrill (American University), Kristin Hickman (University of Minnesota), and Mason Marks (University of New Hampshire Law/Petrie-Flom Center, Harvard).

How to Submit a Paper Proposal

To submit a paper proposal, please send an email with the subject line “Symposium Paper” to with your paper proposal and a copy of your CV(s) by March 31st, 2022 at 5:00 PM EDT. Inquiries via this e-mail address should be directed to Duke Law Journal’s Special Projects Editor, Robert Bourret.

What to Include in Your Paper Proposal

Paper proposals should be Word documents that includes a paper, an abstract, or brief description of the paper topic and specifically details how it intersects with topics or issues raised in Professor Sunstein’s abstract (below). Please note that we are looking for 3 to 4 articles to accompany Professor Sunstein’s article, and each article must be at most 15,000 words.

Abstract of “On the Evaluation of Behaviorally Informed Interventions” by Professor Sunstein:

In evaluating behaviorally informed interventions, policymakers should consider both their welfare effects (including, for example, their potentially negative effects on subjective well-being) and their effects on distributive justice (including, for example, their potentially negative effects on those at the bottom of the economic ladder). Four specific questions are relevant:

(1) What are the aggregate effects on social welfare? For purposes of evaluation, it is tempting to focus on increases in participation rates or on cost-effectiveness. The welfare question is much more important, though it raises serious normative, conceptual, and empirical challenges.

(2) Who is likely to be helped and who is likely to be hurt? This is a plea for a distributional analysis of the effects of behaviorally informed interventions.

(3) What are the expected effects on the least well-off? It is important to ask whether the relevant interventions help or hurt those who have the least, defined in terms of welfare, a point that is connected with “prioritarianism.” (4) Do the benefits to those who are helped exceed the costs to those who are hurt? If the gainers gain more than the losers lose, we have a strong point in favor of the intervention. But the point might not be decisive if, for example, the gainers are well-off to begin with, and the losers are not. The four questions are meant as an objection to efforts to evaluate behaviorally informed interventions in terms of (for example) effects on participation rates; as a plea for analysis of the distributive effects of such interventions; and as a plea for specification and investigation of their welfare effects.

Paper Selection Criteria

Papers must have some foundation in the application of behavioral economics (and/or other forms of economics or evaluative criteria) to administrative law. The Duke Law Journal Symposium Selection Committee will review each paper proposal based on:

  • Definition and focus of the topic
  • Timeliness and importance of the topic
  • Experience, expertise, and diversity of the author(s)
  • Overall paper quality

Travel Support

We plan to hold the symposium in person, and all authors should plan to attend in person. The Duke Law Journal will provide transportation, lodging, and meals for symposium participants. If the symposium cannot be held in person, we will notify symposium authors as soon as we know.

Important Dates

March 31, 2022:Deadline to submit paper proposals
April 15, 2022:Papers selected
October 5, 2022:Draft papers due for Administrative Law Symposium Issue
Spring 2023:53rd Annual Administrative Law Symposium takes place
May 2023:Volume 72’s Administrative Law Symposium Issue published

Thank you and we look forward to reviewing your paper proposal!


Zachary Sanfilippo Editor-in-Chief

Duke Law Journal, Volume 72

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