Chicago's Best Ideas

Chicago's Best Ideas: "Well-Being Analysis vs. Cost-Benefit Analysis" by Jonathan Masur

Date: 
02.04.2013
Location: 
Room II

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is the primary tool used by policymakers to inform administrative decisionmaking. Yet its methodology of converting preferences (often hypothetical ones) into dollar figures, then using those dollar figures as proxies for quality of life, creates systemic errors so large as to deprive the tool of value.

Faculty: 
Jonathan Masur

Chicago's Best Ideas with David Strauss, "Campaign Finance First Principles"

Date: 
01.30.2013
Location: 
Room II

What limits should the government be allowed to impose on people who want to give money to a political campaign, or spend money in support of a campaign? The question is complex, difficult, and very important. Limits on the way money can be used to support candidates can undermine democracy - but so can the lack of limits.

Faculty: 
David A. Strauss

Chicago's Best Ideas with Geoffrey Stone, "When Contraception Was a Crime"

Date: 
02.19.2013
Location: 
Room II

Geoffrey Stone will explore the history of laws against contraception, including discussion of those who struggled against those laws, how the tide turned, and what role the courts played in that process.

This event is free and open to the public. No response is required but seating is limited. For special assistance or needs, please contact Rebecca Klaff at 773.834.4326.

Faculty: 
Geoffrey R. Stone

Chicago's Best Ideas with Lee Fennell, "Property in Housing"

Date: 
11.13.2012
Location: 
Room II

The question of how to structure and package the residential experience is a deeply interesting and difficult one.  How physically large or small should residential holdings be? How densely should they be clustered?  Should spaces for working, recreating, cooking, and bathing be contained within the private residential unit, shared with other households, or procured a la carte?

Faculty: 
Lee Fennell

Chicago's Best Ideas with Laura Weinrib, "Free Speech When Constitutionalism Was Unpopular"

Date: 
11.07.2012
Location: 
Room II

In the mid-1930s, the future of judicial review was uncertain.  Politicians, social activists, and even legal academics denounced the federal judiciary’s hostility toward New Deal legislation as a threat to democratic progress and economicrecovery.  In the face of President Roosevelt’s “court-packing plan” and competing proposals to curb judicial power, conservative lawyers sought str

Faculty: 
Laura Weinrib

Chicago's Best Ideas - Alison LaCroix, "The Lost History of the Spending Power"

Date: 
10.24.2012
Location: 
Room II

The Supreme Court’s decision in the healthcare case has brought new prominence to Congress’s power to tax and spend for the general welfare under Article I, section 8, clause 1. Legislation under the spending power is often regarded as an artifact of the New Deal period. But the spending power has a longer history dating from the early nineteenth century.

Faculty: 
Alison LaCroix

Chicago's Best Ideas: Saul Levmore, "Intermediation and Intervention"

Date: 
10.09.2012
Location: 
Room II

What can law do well? It tries to “intervene” in order to control antisocial behavior, to enforce promises, and to prevent violence. But it is also called on to “intermediate” so that citizens need not confront one another directly and need not even control themselves.

Faculty: 
Saul Levmore

Omri Ben-Shahar, "No Contract"

A popular type of consumer transaction is called "No Contract." Businesses lure consumers with the "no contract" assurance - a promise that consumer can walk away anytime, without any commitment. This scheme is increasingly common in cable and phone services, health clubs, security services, and other transactions that used to require minimum duration. What is a “No Contract” contract?


53:52 minutes (49.32 MB)

Mary Anne Case, "Ronald Coase's Theory of the Firm and the Family"

This talk, recorded on May 1, 2012, as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series, puts in an explicitly Coasian context some of the speaker's prior work on the new reproductive technologies and on analogies in the evolution of the laws governing marriage and business corporations.


60:25 minutes (55.31 MB)

Martha Nussbaum, "Teaching Patriotism"

Schools teach patriotism all the time, but many people think that this is a bad idea. Patriotic rituals may convey misplaced and hierarchical values; they may coerce conscience; and they may promote a dangerous type of uncritical homogeneity. On the other hand, it seems difficult to motivate sacrifices of self-interest for the common good without patriotic emotion. Prof.

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