Category Archives: Economics

New Article: “Fines, Fees, and Forfeitures”

Beth A. Colgan, Fines, Fees, and Forfeitures, SSRN, August 15, 2107.  Abstract below:

The use of fines, fees, and forfeitures has expanded significantly in recent years as lawmakers have sought to fund criminal justice systems without raising taxes. Concerns are growing, however, that inadequately designed systems for the use of such economic sanctions have problematic policy outcomes, such as the distortion of criminal justice priorities, exacerbation of financial vulnerability of people living at or near poverty, increased crime, jail overcrowding, and even decreased revenue. In addition, the imposition and collections of fines, fees, and forfeitures in many jurisdictions are arguably unconstitutional, and therefore create the risk of often costly litigation. This chapter provides an overview of those policy and constitutional problems and provides several concrete solutions for reforming the use of fines, fees, and forfeitures.

 

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New Article: “Law School Clinic and Community Legal Services Providers Collaborate to Advance the Remedy of Implied Warranty of Habitability in Missouri”

Karen Tokarz and Zachary Schmook, Law School Clinic and Community Legal Services Providers Collaborate to Advance the Remedy of Implied Warranty of Habitability in Missouri, 53 Wash. U. J. L. & Pol’y 169 (2017). Abstract Below:

This Essay discusses the economic and public policy concerns regarding the implied warrant of habitability law and the ability of tenants in the state of Missouri can raise effective defenses to rent and possession/eviction actions. The authors, Tokarz and Schmook, director and supervising attorney, respectively, of Washington University’s Civil Rights and Community Justice Clinic, evaluate these issues in light of Kohner Props., Inc. v. Johnson, which currently awaits a decision from the Missouri Supreme Court. Tokarz and Schmook use statistical analysis to identify recent trends in favorable results for landlords in disputes with tenants and stress the effects the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision in Kohner could have in future cases involving tenant rights.

Op-Ed: “How the Ruling Class Remade New Orleans”

Thomas Adams, How the Ruling Class Remade New Orleans, Jacobin Magazine, August 2015. [“The language of social justice has been used to sell intensified neoliberalism in post-Katrina New Orleans.”]

Op-Ed: “Unemployment in Black and White”

The Editorial Board, Unemployment in Black and White, Washington Post, August 28, 2017. [“The hard truth is that the persistence of twice-as-high joblessness for black workers has led policy makers to accept it as normal.”]

Op-Ed: “The biggest beneficiaries of the government safety net: Working-class whites”

Tracy Jan, The biggest beneficiaries of the government safety net: Working-class whites, Washington Post, February 16, 2017. [Commentary on the true effect of the government assistance and tax credit programs of 2014.]

Op-Ed: “Fran works six days a week in fast food, and yet she’s homeless: “It’s economic slavery””

Dominic Rushe, Fran works six days a week in fast food, and yet she’s homeless: “It’s economic slavery”, The Guardian Aug. 21, 2017. [An account of the experiences of Fran Marion and others who are leading the charge for a raised minimum wage.]

Forthcoming Book: “Fragmented Democracy: Medicaid, Federalism, and Unequal Politics”

Jamila Michener, Fragmented Democracy: Medicaid, Federalism, and Unequal Politics, Cambridge University Press. Preface Below:

 

Op-Ed: “Bad Jobs and No Welfare Give Rise to A New Type of Charity: The Diaper Bank”

Arthur Delaney, Bad Jobs and No Welfare Give Rise to A New Type of Charity: The Diaper Bank, Huffington Post Aug. 21, 2017. [“A network of diaper banks now alleviates some of the suffering cause by the 1996 gutting of welfare”]

Op-Ed: “What a Revived Poor People’s Campaign Needs to Do in the Trump Era”

Amanda Abrams, What a Revived Poor People’s Campaign Needs to Do in the Trump Era, Yes Magazine Aug. 18, 2017. [“For the new movement to gain national traction, it will need to draw in poor and working-class Whites.”]

New Article: “Is Efficiency Biased?”

New Article: Zachary D. Liscow, Is Efficiency Biased?, SSRN, Aug. 2017. Abstract below:

The most common underpinning of economic analysis of the law has long been the goal of efficiency (i.e., choosing policies that maximize people’s willingness to pay), as reflected in economic analysis of administrative rulemaking, judicial rules, and proposed legislation. Current thinking is divided on the question whether efficient policies are biased against the poor, which is remarkable given the question’s fundamental nature. Some say yes; others, no.

I show that both views are supportable and that the correct answer depends upon the political and economic context and upon the definition of neutrality. Across policies, efficiency-oriented analysis places a strong thumb on the scale in favor of distributing more legal entitlements to the rich than to the poor. Basing analysis on willingness to pay tilts policies toward benefitting the rich over the poor, since the rich tend to be willing to pay more due to their greater resources. But I also categorize different types of polices and show where vigilance against anti-poor bias is warranted and where it is not, with potentially far-reaching implications for the policies that judges, policymakers, and voters should support.