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. In 2018 he joined 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).


“The New Separation of Ownership and Control: Institutional Investors and ESG” (with Julia Mahoney), Colum. Bus. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2021).

“Advisers by Another Name” (with Adriana Robertson).

“Deregulation and the Subprime Crisis,” 104 Va. L. Rev. 235 (2018).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

“The Regulation of Trading Markets: A Survey and Evaluation” (with Gabriel V. Rauterberg).

“Canons of Construction for Dysfunctional Statutes: A Comment on Bennett,” 75 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 577-591 (2018).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Adam Smith, Prophet of Law and Economics,” 46 J. Legal Stud. 207 (2017).

“A Tribute to Antonin Scalia,” 102 Va. L. Rev. 285 (2016).

“Economic Uncertainty and the Role of the Courts,” 35 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 187 (2012).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“The Public Utility Pyramids,” 41 J. Legal Stud. 37 (2012).

Review of Andrei Shleifer, The Failure of Judges and the Rise of Regulators (MIT Press, 2012), 153 Pub. Choice 515 (2012).

“Legal Origin or Colonial History?” (with Daniel M. Klerman, Holger Spamann, and Mark I. Weinstein), 3 J. Legal Analysis 379 (2011).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Development of Securities Law in the United States," 47 J. Acct. Res. 325 (2009).
SSRN Abstract

"Legal Origin?" (with Daniel Klerman), 35 J. Comp. Econ. 278 (2007).

"The Common Law and Legal Reform in China," Pacific Studies (in English); Global L. Rev.120 (in Chinese) (2007).

“Market Manipulation: A Comprehensive Study of Stock Pools," (with Guolin Jiang & Jianping Mei), 77 J. Fin. Econ. 147 (2005).

“The Value of Judicial Independence: Evidence from Eighteenth Century England,” (with Daniel M. Klerman), 7 Am. L. & Econ. Rev. 1 (2005).

“General and Specific Legal Rules,” (with Chris Sanchirico), 161 J. Inst’l & Theoretical Econ. 329 (2005).

"Manager-Investor Conflicts in Mutual Funds," 18 J. Econ. Persp. 161 (2004).

“Market Microstructure and Market Efficiency,” 28 J. Corp. L. 541 (2003).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Norms, Repeated Games, and the Role of Law" (with Chris Sanchirico), 91 Cal. L. Rev.1281 (2003). 
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Origins of the Blue Sky Laws: A Test of Competing Hypotheses," 46 J.L. & Econ. 229 (2003). 
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Common Law and Economic Growth: Hayek Might be Right," 30 J. Legal Stud. 503 (2001). 
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Competing Norms and Social Evolution: Is the Fittest Norm Efficient?" (with Chris Sanchirico), 149 U. Penn. L. Rev. 2027 (2001). 
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"The Political Economy of the Securities Act of 1933," 30 J. Legal Stud. 1 (2001). 
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"Contract or Concession? An Essay on the History of Corporate Law," 34 Ga. L. Rev. 873 (2000)
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"The Appraisal Remedy and Merger Premiums" (with Mark Weinstein), 1 Am. Law & Econ. Rev. 239 (1999).

"The Stock Pools and the Securities Exchange Act," 51 J. Fin. Econ. 343 (1999).

"The Exchange as Regulator," 83 Va. L. Rev. 1453 (1997).
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"Technology, Property Rights in Information, and Securities Regulation," 75 Wash. U.L.Q.815 (1997).
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"Mandatory Disclosure as a Solution to Agency Problems," 62 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1047 (1995).
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"Contract Remedies and Options Pricing," 24 J. Legal Stud. 139 (1995).
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"Precaution Costs and the Law of Fraud in Impersonal Markets," 78 Va. L. Rev. 623 (1992).
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"Regulation of International Securities Issues," Regulation, Spring 1991.

Book Chapters and Monographs:

“Contract Remedies: General,” in Gerrit De Geest, ed., Contract Law and Economics 155 (Edward Elgar, 2d ed. 2011).

Public and Private Rule Making in Securities Markets (Cato Institute, 2003).

"Information Technology and the Organization of Securities Markets," in Robert E. Litan & Richard Herring, eds., Brookings-Wharton Papers on Financial Services 345 (The Brookings Institution, 2002).

"Trust and Opportunism in Close Corporations," in Randall Mörck, ed., Concentrated Corporate Ownership (University of Chicago Press, 2000). 
SSRN Abstract 

"Contract Remedies: General," in The Encyclopedia of Law & Economics (2000).

"Option Pricing and Contract Remedies," in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics and the Law (Palgrave Macmillan,1998).

"Preconditions to the Development of Capital Markets in the Former Soviet Union," U. Toledo monograph (1992).

Essays and Comments:

"Norms and Signals: Some Skeptical Observations" (reviewing Posner, Law and Social Norms), 36 U. Rich. L. Rev. 387 (2002).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Simple Rules for Complex Markets: Comment," 158 J. Inst. & Theoretical Econ. 28 (2002).

"Adverse Selection and Gains to Controllers in Corporate Freezeouts: Comment," in Randall Mörck, ed., Concentrated Corporate Governance 259 (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2000).

"The First Thing We Do, Let’s Pay All the Lawyers," 66 U. Chi. L. Rev. 922 (1999).
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"Is There a Cure for 'Excessive' Trading?," 81 Va. L. Rev. 713 (1995).
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"Securities Regulation by Enforcement: An International Perspective," 7 Yale J. on Reg.305 (1990).
HeinOnline (PDF)

Book Reviews:

"The Pernicious Art of Securities Regulation," (reviewing Stuart Banner, Anglo-American Securities Regulation [1998]) 66 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1373 (1999).

Book Review of Poser, International Securities Regulation, 31 Va. J. Int'l L. 761 (1991).
HeinOnline (PDF)


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Quantitative Methods
Securities Regulation (Law & Business)




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