John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics
Prof. Mahoney with a student

Law professor Julia Mahoney (right) spoke with students about her paper,
“Perpetual Restrictions on Land and the Problem of the Future.”

The John M. Olin Conference: Law and Economics of Consumer Credit

Friday and Saturday, April 17-18, 2009
All sessions will be held in Caplin Pavilion
Contact: Joyce Holt

After 50 years of legal and regulatory efforts to promote equal opportunity in workplaces, social scientists still do not agree on what measures work to combat employment discrimination. Scholars offer many opinions on “best practices,” but surprisingly little evidence supports many of these opinions.

We can advance knowledge about how to combat workplace discrimination effectively by determining which of the many competing assertions about the incidence, causes and cures of workplace discrimination are supported by sound evidence.

The 2009 Olin Conference at the University of Virginia will bring together leading scholars from economics, law, political science, psychology, sociology and statistics to synthesize what we know about what works — and what doesn’t — in fighting workplace discrimination. Participants will also discuss how to communicate those best practices to organizations, courts and policymakers.

PRELIMINARY SCHEDULE
Print Version

FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2009
8:30 am Continental breakfast at the Law School
9 a.m.-12 p.m.

PANEL I

Sources and Mechanisms of Discrimination: Theory and Evidence

What are the sources and mechanisms of workplace discrimination? What are the sources and mechanisms of racial and gender disparities within the workplace other than discrimination?

Moderator: Chris Winship, Department of Sociology, Harvard University
Roberto Fernandez, Sloan School of Management, M.I.T.
Elizabeth Gorman, Department of Sociology, University of Virginia
Brian Nosek, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Trond Petersen, Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
Lauren Rivera, Department of Sociology, Harvard University


10:30 a.m. Break
1:30-5 p.m.

PANEL II

Regulation of the Workplace: Theory and Evidence

What are effective psychological and organizational checks on stereotyping and prejudice? What are the risks of over- and under-correction associated with different regulatory approaches? Are consciousness-raising and procedural-accountability measures more than symbolic gestures?

Moderator: Gregory Mitchell, School of Law, University of Virginia
Jamie Barden, Department of Psychology, Howard University
Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, Harvard University
Philip E. Tetlock, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley


3 p.m.

Break

SATURDAY, APRIL 18, 2009
8:30 a.m. Continental breakfast at the Law School
9 a.m.-12 p.m.

PANEL III

Dealing with Uncertainty: How Should Researchers and Courts Proceed?

Are current legislative responses to workplace discrimination adequate? Does current legislation place too great an emphasis on individualized litigation and too little emphasis on structural solutions and human capital development? What role should laboratory experiments, field studies, econometric studies and social experiments play in research on workplace discrimination and its remedies? How should existing general social science research be used in litigation and policy formulation? What incentives or regulatory measures can be put in place to avoid needless expert battles and ensure candor on the part of expert witnesses?

Moderator: Philip E. Tetlock, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley
Eugene Borgida, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota
Glenn Loury, Department of Economics, Brown University
Gregory Mitchell, School of Law, University of Virginia
Sarah Turner, Department of Economics, University of Virginia
Chris Winship, Department of Sociology, Harvard University


10:30 a.m. Break
12 p.m. Lunch