New Article: David Orentlicher, Economic Inequality and College Admissions Policies, SSRN 2015. Abstract below:
As economic inequality in the United States has reached unprecedented heights, reformers have focused considerable attention on changes in the law that would provide for greater equality in wealth among Americans. Much benefit would result from more equitable tax policies, fairer workplace regulation, and more generous spending policies.
But there may be even more to gain by revising college admissions policies. Admissions policies at the Ivy League and other elite American colleges do much to exacerbate the problem of economic inequality. Accordingly, reforms of those policies may represent the most effective strategy for restoring a reasonable degree of economic equality in the United States.
The need to address economic inequality should provide sufficient reason for selective universities to revise their admissions policies. But they also may not have any choice in the matter. The U.S. Supreme Court will be reconsidering its doctrine on affirmative action in its upcoming Term and may well conclude that college admissions offices — public or private — may no longer take an applicant’s race or ethnicity into account when making their admissions’ decisions.
Fortunately, there is an important alternative to traditional admissions policies for elite universities to consider — top class rank policies. Indeed, some public universities already have adopted top class rank policies in lieu of affirmative action to promote student body diversity. While the impact on student diversity is a key feature of top rank policies, this article focuses on another critical benefit of the policies — their ability to turn elite universities from institutions that exacerbate economic inequality into institutions that foster economic equality.
New Article: Jim Hawkins, Using Advertisements to Diagnose Behavioral Market Failure, Wake Forest L. Rev. forthcoming. SSRN 2015. Abstract below:
In imperfect markets where consumers have malleable preferences and bounded rationality, advertising has the potential to increase demand for products through persuasion and through information that exploits systematic mistakes that consumers make. Scholarship on advertising has criticized it on these grounds, but the legal and economic literature has missed advertising’s enormous potential to reveal consumers’ behavioral biases in specific markets. This Article argues that researchers and policymakers should use advertising to detect and diagnose behavioral market failure.
As a case study of my strategy, I offer the first comprehensive empirical study of advertisements for payday and title loans. These are short-term, small-dollar, high-cost loans, and the majority of consumers using them are lower-income Americans. I report on research I conducted that coded information on advertisements at 189 payday and title lending storefronts and 27 websites. Using the advertisements to diagnose behavioral market failure, I find evidence that firms use advertising to exploit the ways in which payday and title lending customers deviate from the rational actor model. Finally, I offer policy suggestions aimed at fixing this market failure.
Jotwell just published a review of Ann Cammett, Deadbeat Dads & Welfare Queens: How Metaphor Shapes Poverty Law, 34 B.C.J.L. & Soc. Just. 233 (2014) by Camille Gear Rich, available here: Who’s Afraid of the Welfare Queen? Stigmatized Motherhood, Tropes and the Policing of the American Poor – Jotwell: Family Law
New Article: Robert A. Garda Jr., Searching for Equity Amid a System of Schools: The View from New Orleans, 42 Fordham Urban Law Journal 613 (2015). Abstract below:
Today, New Orleans education stands at a crossroads in deciding how to achieve equity for its vulnerable student populations. One route relies on centralizing services, planning, and oversight to ensure that every school provides an appropriate education to any type of student that walks through the schoolhouse door. This path embraces the version of inclusion equality set forth in Brown v. Board of Education: “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” The other route relies on the market driven reform underlying the charter movement to create specialized schools to fill the unmet demands of vulnerable populations. This route embraces an emerging view of equality- where separate can be equal, possibly even superior, if parents are empowered to maximize their child’s academic outcomes in specialized settings. This Article argues that New Orleans is headed down this latter route and identifies the lessons that can be learned from its evolution to a system of schools.
New Report: Children’s Defense Fund, Ending Child Poverty Now (2015).
New Article: Todd J. Zywicki, The Law and Economics of Consumer Debt Collection and Its Regulation, SSRN 2015. Abstract below:
This article reviews the law and economics of consumer debt collection and its regulation, a topic that has taken on added urgency in light of the announcement by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that it is considering new regulations on the subject. Although stricter regulation of permissible debt collection practices can benefit those consumers who are in default and increase demand for credit by consumers, overly-restrictive regulation will result in higher interest rates and less access to credit for consumers, especially higher-risk consumers. Regulation of particular practices may also have the unintended consequence of providing incentives for creditors to more rapidly escalate their efforts to more aggressive collection practices, including litigation. Finally, the CFPB should take care to avoid imposing disproportionate regulatory burdens on small firms that would reduce competition and promote further consolidation of the industry. Therefore, before enacting any new regulations, the CFPB should be careful to ensure that the marginal benefits to consumers and the economy of new regulations exceed any costs arising from unintended consequences.
Photo Copyright Ezra Rosser
New Article: Alexandria Mayfield, Generous, Not Just: What Feeds the River of Tribal Despair and Poverty, 50 Tulsa L. Rev. 829 (2015).
Call-for-Papers: “Rebellious Lawyering at Twenty-Five” for the Clinical Law Review. Abstracts due by Oct. 30, 2015. More information after the jump: