Paul G. Mahoney

  • David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law

Paul G. Mahoney is a David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor and served as dean of the Law School from 2008-16. Mahoney's teaching and research areas are securities regulation, law and economic development, corporate finance, financial derivatives and contracts. He has published widely in law reviews and peer-reviewed finance and law and economics journals. His book, “Wasting a Crisis: Why Securities Regulation Fails,” was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2015.

Mahoney joined the Law School faculty in 1990 after practicing law with the New York firm of Sullivan & Cromwell and clerking for Judge Ralph K. Winter, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court. He served as academic associate dean at the Law School from 1999 to 2004 and has held the Albert C. BeVier Research Chair and the Brokaw Chair in Corporate Law. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School, the University of Southern California Law School and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He has also worked on legal reform projects in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Nepal.

Mahoney is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 2018 to 2022 he served on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee. He served as an associate editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives from 2004 to 2007 and as a director of the American Law and Economics Association from 2002 to 2004. He is a past recipient of the All-University Outstanding Teacher Award and the Law School's Traynor Award for excellence in faculty scholarship.

Scholarship Profile: Looking for Proof of Law’s Purpose and Effect (Virginia Journal 2005)


  • J.D.
    Yale Law School
  • B.S.
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Wasting a Crisis: Why Securities Regulation Fails, University of Chicago Press (2015).

Book Chapters

The Regulation of Trading Markets: A Survey and Evaluation (with Gabriel V. Rauterberg), in Securities Market Issues for the 21st Century, Program in the Law and Economics of Capital Markets at Columbia Law School, 221–278 (2018).
Contract Remedies: General, in Encyclopedia of Contract Law and Economics, Edward Elgar, 155–177 (2 ed. 2011).
Hall v. Geiger-Jones Co., 242 U.S. 539 (1917), in Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States, Macmillan Reference USA, 382–383 (2008).
Public and Private Rule Making in Securities Markets, in After Enron: Lessons for Public Policy, Rowman and Littlefield, 105–124 (2005).
Contract Remedies: General, in Encyclopedia of Law and Economics, Edward Elgar, 117–140 (2000).
Trust and Opportunism in Close Corporations, in Concentrated Corporate Ownership, National Bureau of Economic Research, 177–196 (2000).
Options Pricing and Contract Remedies, in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics and the Law, Macmillan, 715–718 (1998).

Articles & Reviews

The Economics of Securities Regulation: A Survey, 13 Foundations and Trends in Finance 1–94 (2021).
The New Separation of Ownership and Control: Institutional Investors and ESG (with Julia D. Mahoney), 2021 Columbia Business Law Review 840–880 (2021).
‘ESG’ Disclosure and Securities Regulation (with Julia D. Mahoney), 44 Regulation 10–12 (2021).
Advisers by Another Name (with Adriana Robertson), 11 Harvard Business Law Review 311 (2021).
Equity Market Structure Regulation: Time to Start Over, 10 Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review 1–44 (2020).
Canons of Construction for Dysfunctional Statutes: A Comment on Bennett, 75 Washington & Lee Law Review 577–591 (2018).
Deregulation and the Subprime Crisis, 104 Virginia Law Review 235–300 (2018).
Adam Smith, Prophet of Law and Economics, 46 Journal of Legal Studies 207–236 (2017).
Economic Uncertainty and the Role of the Courts, 35 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 187–194 (2012).
Review of Shleifer, The Failure of Judges and the Rise of Regulators (reviewing Andrei Shleifer, The Failure of Judges and the Rise of Regulators) 153 Public Choice 515–517 (2012).
The Public Utility Pyramids, 41 Journal of Legal Studies 37–66 (2012).
Legal Origin or Colonial History? (with Daniel M. Klerman, Holger Spamann & Mark I. Weinstein), 3 Journal of Legal Analysis 379–409 (2011).
The Development of Securities Law in the United States, 47 Journal of Accounting Research 325–347 (2009).
Legal Origin? (with Daniel Klerman), 35 Journal of Comparative Economics 278–293 (2007).
The Common Law and Legal Reform in China, Pacific Studies (2007).
The Common Law and Legal Reform in China, Global Law Review (2007).
General and Specific Legal Rules (with Chris Sanchirico), 161 Journal of Institutional & Theoretical Economics 329–346 (2005).
Market Manipulation: A Comprehensive Study of Stock Pools (with Guolin Jiang & Jianping Mei), 77 Journal of Financial Economy 147–170 (2005).
The Value of Judicial Independence: Evidence from Eighteenth Century England (with Daniel M. Klerman), 7 American Law & Economic Review 1–27 (2005).
Manager-Investor Conflicts in Mutual Funds, 18 Journal of Economic Perspectives 161–182 (2004).
Market Microstructure and Market Efficiency, 28 Journal of Corporate Law 541–549 (2003).
Norms, Repeated Games, and the Role of Law (with Chris William Sanchirico), 91 California Law Review 1281–1329 (2003).
The Origins of the Blue-Sky Laws: A Test of Competing Hypotheses, 46 Journal of Law & Economics 229–251 (2003).
Information Technology and the Organization of Securities Markets, 2002 Brookings-Wharton Papers on Financial Services 345–360 (2002).
Norms and Signals: Some Skeptical Observations, 36 University of Richmond Law Review 387–406 (2002).
Competing Norms and Social Evolution: Is the Fittest Norm Efficient?, 149 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 2027–2062 (2001).
The Common Law and Economic Growth: Hayek Might Be Right, 30 Journal of Legal Studies 503–525 (2001).
The Political Economy of the Securities Act of 1933, 30 Journal of Legal Studies 1–31 (2001).
Adverse Selection and Gains to Controllers in Corporate Freezeouts: Comment National Bureau of Economic Research 259–261 (2000).
The Appraisal Remedy and Merger Premiums (with Mark Weinstein), 1 American Law & Economic Review 239–275 (1999).
The First Thing We Do, Let’s Pay All the Lawyers, 66 University of Chicago Law Review 922–932 (1999).
The Pernicious Art of Securities Regulation, 66 University of Chicago Law Review 1373–1393 (1999).
The Stock Pools and the Securities Exchange Act, 51 Journal of Financial Economy 343–369 (1999).
Technology, Property Rights in Information, and Securities Regulation, 75 Washington University Law Quarterly 815–848 (1997).
The Exchange as Regulator, 83 Virginia Law Review 1453–1500 (1997).
Contract Remedies and Options Pricing, 24 Journal of Legal Studies 139–163 (1995).
Is There a Cure for “Excessive” Trading?, 81 Virginia Law Review 713–749 (1995).
Mandatory Disclosure as a Solution to Agency Problems, 62 University of Chicago Law Review 1047–1112 (1995).
Precaution Costs and the Law of Fraud in Impersonal Markets, 78 Virginia Law Review 623–670 (1992).
Book Review (reviewing Norman S. Poser, International Securities Regulation) 31 Virginia Journal of International Law 761–772 (1991).
Securities Regulation by Enforcement: An International Perspective, 7 Yale Journal on Regulation 305–320 (1990).
A Market Power Test for Noncommercial Boycotts, 93 Yale Law Journal 523–540 (1984).

Reports & Datasets

Proposal on Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors [File No. S7-10-22] (with Lawrence A. Cunningham et al.), U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (2022).
StatementThe Dodd-Frank Act and Regulatory Overreach , US Government Print Office 5–7, 30 (2015).
TestimonySystemic Risk: Are Some Institutions Too Big to Fail and If So, What Should We Do about It? , US Government Print Office 14–16, 61 (2009).

Op-Eds, Blogs, Shorter Works

Letter: Free speech is a fundamental U.Va. value (with Julia D. Mahoney, Jason S. Johnston & et al.), Cavalier Daily (April 5, 2022).
The New Separation of Ownership and Control: Institutional Investors and ESG (with Julia D. Mahoney), CLS Blue Sky Blog (April 20, 2021).
Equity Market Structure Regulation: Time to Start Over, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance (July 27, 2020).
Did Deregulation End the “Quiet Period” of Low-Risk Banking?, CLS Blue Sky Blog (September 18, 2018).
A Tribute to Antonin Scalia, 102 Virginia Law Review 285–287 (2016).
A Tribute to David Martin, 102 Virginia Law Review 1163–1165 (2016).
Why Dodd-Frank Is Already Failing Law & Liberty (2015).
A Tribute to Peter Low, 100 Virginia Law Review 1111–1114 (October, 2014).
A Tribute to Jeffrey O’Connell, 98 Virginia Law Review 1435–1438 (2012).
A Tribute to Michael P. Dooley, 98 Virginia Law Review 1427–1430 (2012).
Larry Walker: An Intellectual Pioneer, 97 Virginia Law Review 1263–1266 (2011).
An Ideal Colleague, 96 Virginia Law Review 939–942 (2010).
Opening Remarks at the MAPOC Conference, 18 Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law 1–2 (2010).
Treasury Resolution Plan Solves Nothing (with Steven D. Walt), American Banker 8 (November 8, 2009).
50th Anniversary Commemorative Letter, 50 Virginia Journal of International Law 1–2 (2009).
Contract Law and Macroeconomics, 6 Virginia Journal 72–83 (2003).
Simple Rules for Complex Markets: Comment, 158 Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics 28–31 (2002).
Regulation of International Securities Issues, Regulation 62–70 (1991).

Current Courses

All Courses

Quantitative Methods
Securities Regulation (Law & Business)




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