The John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics
The John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics conducts an academic conference each year that strives to push economic analysis beyond its traditional subject areas in law and broaden the appeal of the conference to other disciplines.
Just two decades ago, little data existed even on the most rudimentary aspects of the criminal process, such as the numbers and types of convictions each year. In our fragmented criminal system, no central data gathering was conducted between the thousands of independent federal, state and local jurisdictions. Criminal justice data collection is still far from what should be desired. However, increasingly useful data is collected concerning each stage of the criminal process ranging from initial police stops, interrogations, guilty pleas, convictions, sentencing decisions, post-conviction review, to subsequent exonerations. A new wave of legal scholarship constructs new data sets and conducts more refined and ambitious empirical analysis. Criminal law scholarship also increasingly examines from a theoretical perspective the complex incentives surrounding criminality, prosecutorial charging, conviction, and sentencing.
The 2010 Olin Conference at the University of Virginia School of Law examines this growing and productive intersection of law and economics and criminal law. Scholars from economics, law, and criminology will examine different aspects of the criminal process. Papers analyze problems ranging from litigation costs, sentencing accuracy, racial profiling, deterrence, wrongful convictions, and judicial behavior. Participants will discuss the presented papers and more generally will explore what can be learned from the latest theoretical and empirical work analyzing criminal law from a law and economics perspective.
After 50 years of legal and regulatory efforts to promote equality of opportunity in workplaces, one might expect social scientists to have reached consensus on what measures work to combat employment discrimination. But no such consensus exists. Social scientists offer many opinions on equal employment opportunity “best practices,” but surprisingly little evidence supports many of these opinions.
The key to advancing knowledge about how to combat workplace discrimination effectively is to determine 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 does not work in combating workplace discrimination and to discuss how we can most effectively learn what works and then communicate this information to organizations, courts, and policymakers.
Dramatic and controversial changes have occurred in both consumer lending markets and the laws that regulate these markets. This conference brings together scholars in the fields of law, economics, and finance to discuss some of the pressing issues that have emerged from the recent changes with an aim to better evaluate various legislative proposals that have been proposed in response. Papers cover a range of topics from payday lending to subprime mortgage to consumer bankruptcy.
Recent advances in economic theory, as well as a growing body of empirical evidence, have highlighted the strong connections between the fields of law and finance. Today's financial economists rely heavily on the characteristics of legal institutions and contracts to explain the behavior of corporations and markets, while today's scholars in law and economics draw on financial theories and data to critically examine the organization and structure of law. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly common for law and finance scholars to work together in pursuing their research endeavors. This conference brings together top researchers in the fields of law and finance to discuss the topics that are of cutting-edge importance. The Conference is co-sponsored with the McIntire School of Commerce.
Both legal and economic scholars have critically examined various aspects of modern organization since Coase's seminal article on the theory of the firm in 1937, including: an organization's economic and legal boundary, its hierarchical structure, incentive and promotion within an organization, and control within and across organizations. This conference aims to bring together scholars from the allied fields to examine the recent developments in the field and also to provide a more holistic view of the modern organization theory.
Real options techniques are widely used in finance and economics to evaluate investment flexibility and to design multi-period strategies that maximize returns from flexibility. Legal scholars have begun to apply real options analysis to a range of legal contexts in which a party enjoys a discretionary right: for example, the right of an actor to commit a wrong (or breach a contract) and incur liability, the right of the innocent party to choose among remedies, the right to file a law suit and proceed through multi-staged litigation. This conference brings together scholars who have introduced options analysis to law in their prior writing, to examine a range of legal options.
This conference assembles scholars from law school and business school faculties to discuss recent empirical work in the fields of corporate, bankruptcy, and securities law. This work is part of a broader trend towards empirical research in law and economics. The goal of the conference is to not only evaluate recent, notable findings, but also to promote greater dialogue between law and business faculties on topics of mutual interest and on empirical methodology. The papers covered a range of topics from insider trading and corporate governance in Southeast Asia to the governance structure of spinoffs.