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Towards an Administrative Law of Central Banking

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A world in turmoil caused by Covid-19 has revealed again what has long been true: the Federal Reserve is arguably the most powerful administrative agency in government, but neither administrative-law scholars nor the Fed itself treat it that way. In this Article, we present the first effort to map the contours of what administrative law […]

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The Departmental Structure of Executive Power: Subordinate Checks from Madison to Mueller

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This Article examines the departmental structure of the executive branch, which facilitates, channels, and delimits the exercise of executive power. This structure is grounded in the text of the Constitution, which refers to “Department[s]” in the Necessary and Proper Clause, Appointments Clause, and Opinion Clause. The concept of the department also played a key role […]

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Congress’s Commissioners: Former Hill Staffers at the S.E.C. and Other Independent Regulatory Commissions

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The expression “personnel is policy” has become a truism in Washington. Yet our understanding of how the political branches use appointments to project influence into the administrative state is incomplete. This Article leverages data on almost one-thousand commissioners serving on eleven major independent regulatory commissions to chart, for the first time, Congress’s growing practice of […]

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Taxing Buybacks

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A recent rise in the volume of corporate share repurchases has prompted calls for changes to the rules governing stock buybacks. These calls for reform are animated by concerns that buybacks enrich corporate executives at the expense of productive investment. This emerging antibuyback movement includes prominent politicians as well as academics and Republicans as well […]

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Agency Costs, Corporate Governance, and the American Labor Union

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Acute agency costs exist in unions as they do in other complex organizations. Specifically, union officials are imperfect representatives of the rank-and-file workers they ostensibly represent. Yet far less attention has been paid to addressing agency costs in the context of unions than in the context of public corporations, where the separation of share ownership […]

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Horizontal Shareholding and Network Theory

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This paper uses network theory to argue that the consequences of horizontal ownership by large investment institutions are more complicated than, and sometimes the complete opposite of, what conventional economic theory predicts. Horizontal ownership occurs when a large investment institution, such as Vanguard or BlackRock, simultaneously holds large stakes in many different companies in the […]

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Statutory Diagrams

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We live in a republic of statutes, yet understanding those statutes has become so cognitively difficult that judges cannot properly interpret them, citizens cannot properly understand them, and legislatures cannot properly write them. This Note presents a new tool for reducing the cognitive difficulty of understanding and applying statutes: statutory diagrams. The Note presents the […]

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Artificial Intelligence and Climate Change

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As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to embed itself in our daily lives, many focus on the threats it poses to privacy, security, due process, and democracy itself. But beyond these legitimate concerns, AI promises to optimize activities, increase efficiency, and enhance the accuracy and efficacy of the many aspects of society relying on predictions and […]

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Pharmaceutical Pricing When Success Has Many Parents

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Pharmaceutical companies claim that high prices for drugs are needed to offset the costs and risks associated with research and development. In most instances, though, the initial (basic) research that leads to new discoveries is conducted at public institutions and paid for with public funds. Drugmakers tend to take over the process of bringing new […]

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Maximin

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For regulation, some people argue in favor of the maximin rule, by which public officials seek to eliminate the worst worst-cases. The maximin rule has not played a formal role in regulatory policy in the Unites States, but in the context of climate change, pandemics, or new and emerging technologies, regulators who are unable to […]

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Algorithmic Accountability in the Administrative State

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How will artificial intelligence (AI) transform government? Stemming from a major study commissioned by the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), we highlight the promise and trajectory of algorithmic tools used by federal agencies to perform the work of governance. Moving past the abstract mappings of transparency measures and regulatory mechanisms that pervade the […]

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Financing Failure: Bankruptcy Lending, Credit Market Conditions, and the Financial Crisis

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When contemplating Chapter 11, firms often need to seek financing for their continuing operations in bankruptcy. Because such financing would otherwise be hard to find, the Bankruptcy Code authorizes debtors to offer sweeteners to debtor-in-possession (DIP) lenders. These inducements can be effective in attracting financing, but because they are thought to come at the expense […]

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Toward Separation of Powers Realism

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Many wonder if the separation of powers is going to be reinvigorated by the new appointees to the federal judiciary. But that doctrine in practice means that occasionally alarming, but exceedingly rare, doctrinal innovations—finding venerable parts of the administrative state or portions of high-profile congressional statutes to be unconstitutional, for example—make no real-world difference because […]

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Private Markets, Public Options, and the Payment System

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The speed at which money moves between people and businesses in the United States lags well behind international standards. Slow payment speeds lead to inefficiency across the economy, drive demand for high-cost credit products, and have hampered the federal response to 2020’s pandemic-driven economic crisis. To speed up the payment system, the Federal Reserve (“Fed”) […]

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Modernizing Bank Merger Review

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Sixty years ago, Congress established a federal pre-approval regime for bank mergers to protect consumers from then-unprecedented consolidation in the banking sector. This process worked well for several decades, but it has since atrophied, producing numerous “too big to fail” banks.    This Article contends that regulators’ current approach to evaluating bank merger proposals is […]