The Faculty Podcast

Listen to lectures by—and discussions with—the University of Chicago Law School's eminent faculty, as well as some very special guests.

May 5, 2011

Commentators criticized the Bush administration for expanding presidential powers, but the Obama administration has not tried to curtail them, nor has Congress or the courts.  In this talk, Professor Posner will trace the evolution of the imperial presidency, and explain why the powerful executive has become entrenched in the U.S. system of government.

Eric Posner is Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded April 29, 2011, as the Law School's annual Loop Luncheon.

April 21, 2011

Among the disturbing reports from a variety of venues at which the U.S. military has conducted interrogations of Islamic male detainees are those detailing exploitation of sexual and gender stereotypes and taboos as a central part of efforts to humiliate and degrade detainees. Professor Case's analysis will be structured around three quotations, two from interrogators (including the lecture’s title) and one from a detainee. It will demonstrate that precedents for all of the sexualized abuses, and for most of the non-sexualized abuses, could be found in what soldiers themselves experienced in military hazing. Abuse is not simply about treating the prisoners as “the other,” but about doing to “them” what was done to “us.” And what was done? In the words of one detainee, “They wanted us to feel as though we were women, the way women feel and this is the worst insult, to feel like a woman.” The use of feminization as a means of degradation, whether in interrogation or basic training, is not only harmful to sex equality, but also to military effectiveness. For example, although gentler interrogation techniques have a proven track record and are favored by most experts, harsh techniques are now in favor, because, as one interrogator said, otherwise, “They’ll think we are … pussies.” Professor Case will consider ways in which these practices do gender-based harm, not only to the men who are their alleged targets, but to the military women involved, voluntarily or not, in carrying them out, as well as to women generally. Mary Anne Case is Arnold I. Shure Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded on April 13, 2011 as part of the "Chicago's Best Ideas" lecture series.

March 17, 2011

This debate between Geof Stone (Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago Law School) and Alexander Tsesis (Assistant Professor of Law, Loyoal University Chicago) was recorded on February 14, 2011 and was sponsopred by APALSA, BLSA, and Outlaw.

March 11, 2011

It is widely believed today that the free market is the best mechanism ever invented to efficiently allocate resources in society. Just as fundamental is the belief that government has a legitimate and competent role in policing and punishing. The result, in this country, has been an incendiary combination of laissez faire and mass incarceration. Today, the United States incarcerates over one percent of its adult population, the highest number and rate in the world. In this CBI, Professor Harcourt will trace the birth of the idea of natural orderliness in economic thought and its gradual evolution into today’s myth of the free market, and explore how it could possibly have produced the largest government-run penal sphere on the globe.

This talk was recorded on February 21, 2011, as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series. Bernard Harcourt is Julius Kreeger Professor of Law & Criminology and Chair and Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago.

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February 24, 2011

This panel was recorded April 24, 2010 as part of the conference "Creating Capabilities," held at the University of Chicago Law School and organized by James Heckman, Martha Nussbaum and Robert Pollak.

Directions for Law and Policy: Social Norms, Families, Legislation, Courts
Once we have a sense of what our goals are and what forms of intervention might be effective, we still need to think about social and political structure: what can law do, by contrast to informal social norms and families?  In the realm of law, what roles can one see for courts, legislation, and administrative agencies?  For family policy and family privacy?

  • Chair: Eric Posner
  • Emily Buss
  • Steven Durlauf
  • Robert Ellickson
February 10, 2011

Patents encourage innovation by granting inventors exclusive rights to sell their inventions. The resulting monopoly profits are a reward for innovation. It is commonly thought, however, that these monopoly profits price some consumers of inventions out of the market. This loss of consumption is an “efficiency” cost of patents. Thus, according to the conventional wisdom an optimal patent regime should balance the value of innovation to those who can purchase it against the efficiency cost of lost consumption to those who cannot purchase it. In our CBI talk, we question whether patents result in foregone consumption and reject the conventional tradeoff that drives optimal patent policy. We argue that there exist contractual mechanisms, such as health insurance and patent pools, that mitigate or stop consumers from being priced out of the market for innovations. Instead, the main concern with patents is that it transfers wealth from consumers to inventors. Anup Malani is Professor of Law and Aaron Director Research Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School and Jonathan Masur is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded January 24, 2011 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series.

January 28, 2011

The 2011 Coase Lecture in Law and Economics was presented by Thomas J. Miles , Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School, on January 25, 2011.

January 13, 2011

This panel was part of the conference Democracy and Gender Equality in the Muslim World, organized by Martha Nussbaum and Madhavi Sunder on May 8, 2009. Speakers included:

  • Moderator: Emily Buss, Fried Professor of Law, University of Chicago
  • Zainah Anwar, Project Director for the Global Movement for Justice and Equality in the Muslim Family
  • Janet Halley, Royall Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Havva Guney Ruebenacker, Harvard Law School, S.J.D. Candidate
  • Sylvia Vatuk, Professor of Anthropology, University of Illinois, Chicago
December 16, 2010

Institutional investors, because of their relatively larger ownership stakes, have more incentive than retail investors to monitor the companies in which they invest, particularly if it is costly to exit. Since owning shares in a well-governed firm reduces an investor’s own monitoring costs and also may provide higher liquidity and lower associated trading costs, such investments are attractive to institutional investors. In a recent study, Visiting Professor Alicia Davis finds that higher governance quality, as defined by a metric that heavily weights internal governance factors (e.g., board composition), is associated with higher proportions of institutional trading and ownership. This finding is consistent with the presence of a corporate governance clientele effect and the reasonable conjecture that institutions have more reason to prefer well-governed companies than retail investors. However, Davis also finds that higher governance quality, as defined by a metric focused on external governance (i.e., exposure to the market for corporate control), is associated with higher proportions of trading and ownership by individuals. It is unlikely that retail investors have a stronger aversion to firms with antitakeover protections in place than institutions, so this result is unlikely due to the presence of a corporate governance clientele effect. One possible explanation lies beyond investor governance preferences. Retail investors, in general, are more loyal to management than their institutional counterparts. This often makes individual investors key players in close votes accompanying battles for corporate control and firms with large retail shareholder bases, on the margin, less attractive takeover targets. Therefore, the presence of retail investors may function as a partial substitute for antitakeover defenses. The fact that the study’s overall findings hold only for firms that pay dividends--and the ones therefore more likely to engender retail investor loyalty--lends support to this view. This talk was recorded on November 16, 2010 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series.

December 2, 2010

The spectacular rise and fall of the housing market over the past decade has shaken the foundations of virtually every aspect of our economy. In this CBI, Dean Schill will briefly survey the causes and consequences of the "mortgage meltdown." With the current crisis as a backdrop, he will focus on two or three topics related to his research interests which include (1) whether legal and policy incentives for home ownership are desirable, (2) ; whether the structure of mortgage law makes sense and (3) the advantages and disadvantages of proposals for resolving the current mortgage crisis. This talk was recorded November 9, 2010, as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series. Michael Schill is Dean and Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.