University of Virginia School of Law professor Megan Stevenson, an economist and criminal justice scholar, has won the inaugural Donald M. Ephraim Prize in Law and Economics.

Sponsored by the University of Chicago Law School, the award recognizes an early-career scholar in the field of law and economics whose work has advanced the state of knowledge in the field and whose intellectual impact has the potential to reach the legal academy, legal profession and beyond, according to the school.

The prize includes a $30,000 cash award, and Stevenson will be invited to present research at Chicago in spring and during the 2023-24 academic year. Stevenson will receive the prize at a recognition event in Chicago.

Ephraim said in a statement that he created the prize “to recognize and reward an eminent younger scholar whose promise and potential is likely to significantly impact the field of law and economics.” 

“I am exceptionally pleased that our respected selection committee chose Professor Stevenson, a distinguished and extensively published academic, for the inaugural award,” he said.

Stevenson has conducted empirical research in various areas of criminal justice reform, including bail, algorithmic risk assessment, misdemeanors and juvenile justice. She also serves on the American Law and Economics Association board of directors. Her research on bail was cited extensively in a landmark federal civil rights decision, O’Donnell v. Harris County, which reformed the bail system in that part of Texas.

In 2022, Stevenson and her team received a $200,000 grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to study the hidden long-term effects of incarceration. She was the 2019 winner of the Oliver E. Williamson prize for best article, chosen among all articles published in the Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization within the previous three years.

Stevenson is associated with the Law School’s Center for Criminal Justice, Center for Empirical Studies in Law, Center for Public Law and Political Economy, and LawTech Center.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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