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Taking Compliance Seriously

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How can we ensure corporations play by the “rules of the game”—that is, laws encouraging firms to avoid socially harmful conduct? Corporate compliance programs play a central role in society’s current response. Prosecutors give firms incentives—through discounts to penalties—to implement compliance programs that guide and monitor employees’ behavior. However, focusing on the incentives of firms […]

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The Private Equity Negotiation Myth

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Private equity fund agreements have been criticized for failing to protect investors from exploitation by fund managers. One defense frequently used by the industry has been to invoke what I call the private equity negotiation myth, which claims that because fund agreements are highly negotiated, substantive concerns about their terms are unwarranted. This myth assumes […]

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Costs, Conflicts, and College Savings: Evaluating Section 529 Savings Plans

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Americans collectively save hundreds of billions of dollars for their children’s education in Section 529 college savings plans. These plans are sponsored by states and largely exempt from the legal regimes that typically apply to money managers. This is the first academic study to comprehensively evaluate the quality of menus offered by these plans. While […]

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Unenforceable Securitization Contracts

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A “portfolio” here is a bundled set of contracts. In this Article, we address a commercially important example, where a local bank finances home purchases. The bank bundles the resultant contracts—the mortgage-backed securities (MBS)—into a portfolio, which it then sells to a firm, denoted an “originator.” The originator buys portfolios from several local banks and […]

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Regulating Intermediate Technologies

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Over the last several years, scholars studying health innovation policy have carefully considered the ways in which policymakers regulate different types of technologies to encourage their development and dissemination. Scholars have examined a range of legal incentives, including patents, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) exclusivity periods, taxes, grants, insurance reimbursement, and other tools to promote […]

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Enforcement Networks

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Policy and academic debates often depict agencies as siloed, in solitary pursuit of their own statutory mandates. But such views overlook an important reality. Agencies do not work alone, but in fact exercise power via networks, in tandem with other federal and state agencies as well as foreign powers. While agencies have relied on networks […]

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Passive in Name Only: Delegated Management and “Index” Investing

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This Article provides the first detailed empirical analysis of the landscape of U.S. stock market indices. First, I hand collect detailed information about the universe of indices used as benchmarks for U.S. mutual funds. I document substantial heterogeneity across indices and find that the overwhelming majority of the indices in my sample are used as […]

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New Tech v. New Deal: Fintech as a Systemic Phenomenon

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Fintech is the hottest topic in finance today. Recent advances in cryptography, data analytics, and machine learning are visibly “disrupting” traditional methods of delivering financial services and conducting financial transactions. Less visibly, fintech is also changing the way we think about finance: it is gradually recasting our collective understanding of the financial system in normatively […]

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The False Promise of Presidential Indexation

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The Trump Administration faces mounting pressure from conservative thinkers and activists—including calls from its own National Economic Council director—to promulgate a U.S. Treasury Department regulation that indexes capital gains for inflation. Proponents of such a move—which is sometimes called “presidential indexation”—make three principal arguments in favor of the proposal: (1) that inflation indexing would be […]

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Harnessing Investor Interest in Sustainability: The Next Frontier in Environmental Information Regulation

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This Article rethinks the theory and application of environmental information regulation in light of growing investor interest in sustainability. Academics and policymakers have long viewed mandatory information disclosure as a powerful regulatory tool for improving corporate environmental performance, with some going so far as to call environmental information regulation the third phase of American environmental […]

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FOIA’s Common Law

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The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) replaced the near-total control that agencies held over their records with a judicially enforceable “right” of public access to agency information. Underscoring the importance of this statutory right, FOIA rejected the judiciary’s traditional respect for agency expertise. It instead places the burden of proof on the government and mandates […]

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Split Derivatives: Inside the World’s Most Misunderstood Contract

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Derivatives are the “bad boys” of modern finance: exciting, dangerous, and fundamentally misunderstood. These misunderstandings stem from the failure of scholars and policymakers to fully appreciate the unique legal and economic structure of derivative contracts, along with the important differences between these contracts and conventional equity and debt securities. This Article seeks to correct these […]

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The Faulty Foundation of the Draft Restatement of Consumer Contracts

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Professor Gregory Klass’s replication study of the Draft Restatement of the Law of Consumer Contract’s empirical analysis of privacy policies found troubling and pervasive problems with the Reporters’ coding of cases. We extended Professor Klass’s study with a replication of the coding of the two largest datasets supporting the Draft Restatement, those on the enforceability […]

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The FSOC’s Designation Program as a Case Study of the New Administrative Law of Financial Supervision

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When legal scholars specializing in financial regulation have examined the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), their lens has usually focused on matters outside of the core public law expertise they are best positioned to contribute. This curious state of affairs is the consequence of the historical mutual disinterest between administrative law scholars and financial regulatory […]

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Does Agency Structure Affect Agency Decisionmaking? Implications of the CFPB’s Design for Administrative Governance

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An extensive literature has analyzed the accountability of administrative agencies, and in particular, their relationship to Congress. A well-established strand in the literature emphasizes that Congress retains control over agencies by their design, with a focus on the structure and process by which agency decisionmaking is undertaken. This Article examines the relationship between agency structure […]