David A. Weisbach

David A. Weisbach

Walter J. Blum Professor of Law, Senior Fellow, the Computation Institute of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory

David Weisbach received his BS in Mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1985; a Masters in Advance Study (Mathematics) from Wolfson College, Cambridge in 1986; and a JD from Harvard Law School in 1989. After graduating from law school, Weisbach clerked for Judge Joel M. Flaum of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and worked as an associate in the law firm of Miller & Chevalier. In 1992, Weisbach joined the Department of Treasury where he worked as an attorney-advisor in the Office of the Tax Legislative Counsel and, subsequently, as associate tax legislative counsel. In 1996, Weisbach was appointed Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown Law Center and joined the Chicago faculty in 1998. He is also a Senior Fellow at the University of Chicago Computation Institute and Argonne National Laboratories and an International Research Fellow at the Said School of Business, Oxford University. Weisbach is primarily interested in issues relating to federal taxation and to climate change.


Harvard Law School
JD, magna cum laude, 1989

  • John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics
  • Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

Yale Law School
Special Student, 1988-1989

Cambridge University, Wolfson College
Masters for Advanced Studies in mathematics, 1986

University of Michigan
BS in mathematics with high distinction, 1985

  • Phi Beta Kappa


The University of Chicago Law School
Walter J. Blum Professor of Law, 2004-present
Kearney Director, Program in Law and Economics, July 2001-2011
Senior Fellow, The University of Chicago Computation Institute and Argonne National Laboratories, 2011-present

Yale Law School
Maurice R. Greenberg Visiting Professor of Law, fall 2009

American Enterprise Institute
Visiting Scholar, 2007-present

Oxford Centre for Business Taxation
International Research Fellow, 2006-present

Georgetown University Law Center
Associate Professor of Law, 1996-1998

Office of Tax Policy, United States Department of the Treasury
Associate Tax Legislative Counsel, 1995-1996
Attorney Advisor, Office of the Tax Legislative Counsel, 1992-1995

Miller & Chevalier Washington, DC
Associate, 1990-1992

The Honorable Joel M. Flaum, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Chicago, IL
Judicial Clerk, 1989-1990

Books (Author)

  • Debating Climate Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2016) (with Stephen Gardiner).cu www
  • Climate Change Justice (Princeton University Press, 2010) (with Eric Posner).cu
  • Tax Treatment of Contingent Debt (Practicing Law Institute, 2000).cu

Books (Editor)

  • Economics of Tax Law. (Edward Elgar, 2008). cu

Journal Articles

  • "Capital Gains Taxation and Corporate Investment," 70 National Tax Journal 621 (2017).
  • "Should the United States Prefer a Cash Flow Tax to a VAT?," 155 Tax Notes 1559 (2017).
  • "The Design of Border Adjustments for Carbon Prices," 72 National Tax Journal 421 (2017) (with Sam Kortum).
  • "A Guide to the GOP Tax Plan – The Way to a Better Way," 8 Columbia Journal of Tax Law 171 (2017).
  • "Two Theories of Responsibility for Past Emissions of Carbon Dioxide," 40 Midwest Studies in Philosophy 96 (2016) (with Michelle Hayner). cu
  • "The Use of Neutralities in International Tax Policy," 68 National Tax Journal 635 (2015). cu
  • "Introduction: Legal Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty," 44 Journal of Legal Studies S319 (2015). cu
  • "Distributionally Weighted Cost–Benefit Analysis: Welfare Economics Meets Organizational Design," 7 Journal of Legal Analysis 151 (2015). cu www
  • "Climate Impacts on Economic Growth as Drivers of Uncertainty in the Social Cost of Carbon," 43 Journal of Legal Studies 401 (2014) (with Elisabeth Moyer & Mark D. Woolley & Nathan Matteson & Michael J. Glotter ). cu
  • "Rules and Standards When Compliance Costs Are Private Information," 43 Journal of Legal Studies S297 (2014) (with Maciej H. Kotowski & Richard Zeckhauser). cu
  • "Attributes of Ownership," 67 Tax Law Review 249 (2014) (with Reid Thompson). ssrn cu
  • "Audits as Signals," 81 University of Chicago Law Review 179 (2014). cu
  • "Is Knowledge Of The Tax Law Socially Desirable?," 15 American Law and Economics Review 187 (2013). cu
  • "International Paretianism: A Defense," 13 Chicago Journal of International Law 347 (2013) (with Eric Posner). cu
  • "Unilateral Carbon Taxes, Border Tax Adjustments, and Carbon Leakage," 14 Theoretical Inquiries in Law 207 (2013) (with Joshua Elliott, Ian Foster, Sam Kortum & Todd Munson) (Other authors: Gita Kuhn Jush and Todd Munson). cu
  • "Designing Subsidies for Low-Carbon Energy," 20 Journal of Environmental and Sustainablility Law 1 (2013). cu
  • "Should Environmental Taxes Be Precautionary?," 65 National Tax Journal 453 (2012). cu
  • "Linking Policies When Tastes Differ: Global Climate Policy in a Heterogeneous World," 6 Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 110 (2012) (with Gilbert E. Metcalf). cu
  • "Negligence, Strict Liability, and Responsibility for Climate Change," 97 Iowa Law Review 521 (2012). cu
  • "Carbon Taxation in the EU: Expanding the EU Carbon Price," 24 Journal of Environmental Law 183 (2012). cu
  • "The Pareto Minimal Tax System – A Review of Fundamental Tax Reform, Issues, Choices, and Implications," 64(3) National Tax Journal 909 (2011). cu
  • "A Critical Look at a Critical Look – Reply To Sanchirico," 64 Tax Law Review 201 (2011) (with Joseph Bankman). ssrn cu
  • "Discount Rates, Social Judgments, Individuals' Risk Preferences, and Uncertainty," 42 Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 125 (2011) (with Louis Kaplow). ssrn cu
  • "The Regulation of Tax Advice and Advisors," 139 Tax Notes 1279 (2011). cu
  • "Trade and Carbon Taxes," 100 American Economic Review 465 (2010). cu
  • "The Social Evaluation of Intergenerational Policies and Its Application to Integrated Assessment Models of Climate Change," 10 BE Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy Article 7 (2010) (with Louis Kaplow & Elisabeth Moyer). ssrn cu
  • "Will a New Administration Mean a New Policy on Climate Change?," 122 Tax Notes 625 (2009) (with Gilbert E. Metcalf). cu
  • "Climate Change and Discounting the Future: A Guide for the Perplexed," 27 Yale Law and Policy Review 433 (2009) (with Cass R. Sunstein). cu
  • "Toward a New Approach to Disability Law," 2009 University of Chicago Legal Forum 47 (2009). cu
  • "The Design of a Carbon Tax," 33 Harvard Environmental Law Review 499 (2009) (with Gilbert E. Metcalf). cu
  • "What Does Happiness Research Tell Us about Taxation?," 37 Journal of Legal Studies S293 (2008). cu
  • "The Taxation of Carried Interests in Private Equity," 94 Virginia Law Review 715 (2008). ssrn cu
  • "Consumption Taxation Is Still Superior to Income Taxation," 60 Stanford Law Review 789 (2007) (with Joseph Bankman). cu
  • "Symposium on Intergenerational Equity and Discounting," 74 University of Chicago Law Review 1 (2007) (with Cass R. Sunstein). cu
  • "Professor Says Carried Interest Legislation Is Misguided," 116 Tax Notes 505 (2007). cu
  • "A Legal Perspective on Unanswered Questions in Tax Research," 29 Journal of the American Taxation Association 107 (2007) (with George Plesko). cu
  • "Introduction," 74 University of Chicago Law Review 1 (2007) (with Cass R. Sunstein). cu
  • "Disrupting the Market for Tax Planning," 26 Virginia Tax Review 971 (2007). cu
  • "The Irreducible Complexity of Firm-Level Income Taxes: Theory and Doctrine in the Corporate Tax," 60 Tax Law Review 215 (2007). cu
  • "Paretian Intergenerational Discounting," 74 University of Chicago Law Review 145 (2007) (with Dexter Samida). cu
  • "The Case for a Consumption Tax," 110 Tax Notes 1357 (2006). cu
  • "Tax Expenditures, Principal-Agent Problems, and Redundancy," 84 Washington University Law Review 1823 (2006). cu
  • "The Superiority of an Ideal Consumption Tax over an Ideal Income Tax," 58 Stanford Law Review 1413 (2006) (with Joseph Bankman). cu
  • "Two Cheers for the Flat Tax," 37 Tax Notes International 991 (2005). cu
  • "Taxation and Risk-Taking with Multiple Tax Rates," 57 National Tax Journal 229 (2004). cu
  • "The (Non)Taxation of Risk," 58 Tax Law Review 1 (2004). ssrn cu
  • "The Integration of Tax and Spending Programs," 113 Yale Law Journal 955 (2004) (with Jacob Nussim). ssrn cu
  • "Measurement and Tax Depreciation Policy: The Case of Short-Term Intangibles," 33 Journal of Legal Studies 199 (2004). cu
  • "Should Legal Rules Be Used to Redistribute Income?," 70 University of Chicago Law Review 439 (2003). cu
  • "Does the X-Tax Mark the Spot?," 56 SMU Law Review 201 (2003). ssrn cu
  • "Cross-Border vs Domestic Dividend-Stripping: An Illusory Distinction," 94 Tax Notes 1359 (2002) (with Daniel N. Shaviro) (also appeared in Tax Notes international). cu
  • "The Fifth Circuit Gets It Wrong in Compaq v. Commissioner," 94 Tax Notes 511 (2002). ssrn cu
  • "An Efficiency Analysis of Line Drawing in Tax Law," 29 Journal of Legal Studies 71 (2002). ssrn cu
  • "An Economic Analysis of Anti-Tax-Avoidance Doctrines," 4 American Law and Economics Review 88 (2002). ssrn cu
  • "Ten Truths about Tax Shelters," 55 Tax Law Review 215 (2002). ssrn cu
  • Response, "Thinking Outside the Little Boxes: A Response to Professor Schlunk ", 80 Texas Law Review 893 (2002). ssrn cu
  • "The Failure of Disclosure as an Approach to Shelters," 54 SMU Law Review 73 (2001). cu
  • "Reconsidering the Original Issue Discount Rules," 78 Taxes - The Tax Magazine 36 (2000). cu
  • "Ironing Out the Flat Tax," 52 Stanford Law Review 599 (2000). ssrn cu
  • "Reconsidering the Accrual of Interest Income," 78 Taxes - The Tax Magazine 36 (2000). cu
  • "A Partial Mark-to-Market Tax System," 53 Tax Law Review 95 (1999). cu
  • "Formalism in the Tax Law," 66 University of Chicago Law Review 860 (1999). ssrn cu
  • "Line Drawing Doctrine and Efficiency in the Tax Law," 84 Cornell Law Review 1627 (1999). cu
  • "Implications of Implicit Taxes," 52 SMU Law Review 373 (1999). cu
  • "Should a Short Sale Against the Box be a Realization Event?," 50 National Tax Journal 495 (1997). cu
  • "Tax Responses to Financial Contract Innovation," 50 Tax Law Review 491 (1995). cu

Book Sections

  • "Tax Compliance and Enforcement: An Overview of New Research and Its Policy Implications - Commentary," in The Economics of Tax Policy, Alan J. Auerbach & Kent Smetters eds. (Oxford University Press, 2017).
  • "The Social Evaluation of Intergenerational Policies and Its Application to Integrated Assessment Models of Climate Change," in Distributional Aspects of Energy and Climate Policies, Mark A. Cohen, Don Fullerton & Robert Topel eds. (Edward Elgar, 2013) (with Louis Kaplow & Elisabeth Moyer). cu
  • "The Regulation of Tax Advice and Advisors," in The Corporate Tax Practice Series: Strategies for Corporate Acquisitions, Dispositions, Spin-Offs, Joint Ventures, Financings, Reorganizations and Restructurings (Practising Law Institute, 2011). cu
  • "Instrument Choice Is Instrument Design," in U.S. Energy Tax Policy, Gilbert E. Metcalf ed. (Cambridge University Press, 2011). cu
  • "Implementing Income and Consumption Taxes," in Institutional Foundations of Public Finance: Economic and Legal Perspectives, Daniel N. Shaviro & Alan J. Auerbach eds. (Harvard University Press, 2008). cu
  • "Tax Shelters," in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics.2008). cu
  • "A Brief Primer on Debt Instruments with Contingent Payments," in Tax Strategies for Corporate Acquisitions, Dispositions, Spin-offs, Joint Ventures, Financings, Reorganizations, and Restructurings (Practising Law Institute, 2008). cu
  • "Should We Tax Capital Income? Comments on Zodrow and Toder and Rueben," in Taxing Capital Income, Henry J. Aaron, Leonard E. Burman & C. Eugene Steuerle eds. (Brookings Institution Press, 2007). cu
  • "Comment on the Tax Shelter Battle," in The Crisis in Tax Administration, Henry J. Aaron & Joel Slemrod eds. (Brookings Institution Press, 2004). cu
  • "Corporate Tax Avoidance," in Proceedings of the Ninety-Sixth Annual National Tax Association Conference (2003). cu

Working Papers

  • "The Use of Neutralities in International Tax Policy," Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Working Paper, No. 697 (2014). cu
  • "Distributionally-Weighted Cost Benefit Analysis: Welfare Economics Meets Organizational Design," Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Working Paper, No. 689 (2014). ssrn cu
  • "Attributes of Ownership," Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Working Paper, No. 621 (2012) (with Reid Thompson). ssrn cu

Other Publications

  • "Gambling on the Climate (reviewing William Nordhaus, Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World)," The New Rambler, April 29, 2015. www
  • "Should There Be a Price on Carbon?," Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2012 (interview with Weisbach).

"Waterman, Loss Disallowance, and the Corporate Tax"

"A Welfarist Approach to Disability"


  • American Law Institute (2008-present)
  • Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute (2007-present)
  • International Research Fellow, Oxford Centre for Business Taxation (2006-present)


  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2012)
  • Richard Musgrave Prize (2004)


  • Board of Trustees, National Tax Association (2012-2015)
  • Trustee, American Institute of Tax Policy (July 2003-2009)
  • Consultant, President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform
  • Academic Advisory Panel, Joint Committee on Taxation Simplification Study