2017-2018 Politics, Law & Economics Lecture Series
All lectures will be held at 6:00 PM in the Becker Business Building Room 112.
October 10, 2017
DR. SUZANNE K. SCHOLTE: The Battle for Human Rights in North Korea: Is There Hope for Peaceful Change?
Dr. Scholte will discuss what sets North Korea apart from any other human rights tragedy in the world; what amazing changes have occurred that the people of North Korea have accomplished, and how the free world should respond. She is considered one of the world’s leading activists in the North Korean human rights movement and currently President of the Defense Forum Foundation.
November 4, 2017
DR. ANDREW RETTENMAIER: Is Social Security Wealth?
Dr. Rettenmaier is the co-principal investigator on several research grants and is the author of numerous academic articles and numerous monographs. He has published in Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Health Economics, Health Economics, Southern Economic Journal, and Economic Inquiry, among other economic journals.
December 5, 2017
DR. ABIGAIL HALL BLANCO: Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism
Dr. Blanco examines how the U.S. government is re-importing to America some of the broader range of social controls used in foreign countries. This "the boomerage effect" is beginning to change the national landscape and increasing the extent to which we live in a police state - including the rise of state surveillance, the militarization of domestic law enforcement, the expanding use of drones, and torture in U.S. prisons. Synthesizing research and applying an economic lens, Dr. Blanco and Dr. Coyne develop a generalizable theory to predict and explain a startling trend.
January 16, 2018
DR. VIKRANT REDDY: Tough or Soft on Crime?
Dr. Reddy will describe the troubled state of American criminal justice, provide a historical account of how America arrived at this point, and propose solutions that lead to greater freedom, prosperity, and dignity.
January 30, 2018
DR. NUNO GAROUPA: Can Judges be Trusted?
Judges are society’s elders and experts, our masters and mediators. We depend on them to dispense justice with integrity, deliberation, and efficiency. Yet judges lack the power of the purse or the sword - they must rely almost entirely on their reputations to secure compliance with their decisions, obtain resources, and maintain their political influence. Dr. Garoupa explains how reputation is not only an essential quality of the judiciary as a whole, but also of individual judges. Perceptions of judicial systems around the world range from widespread admiration to utter contempt, and as judges participate within these institutions some earn respect, while others are scorned. Judicial Reputation explores how judges respond to the reputational incentives provided by the different audiences they interact with—lawyers, politicians, the media, and the public itself—and how institutional structures mediate these interactions. The judicial structure is best understood not through the lens of legal culture or tradition, but through the economics of information and reputation. Dr. Garoupa examines the fascinating effects that governmental interactions, multicourt systems, extrajudicial work, and the international rule-of-law movement have had on the reputations of judges.
February 6, 2018
DR. DAVID SKARBEK: The Social Order of the Underworld
When many people think of prison gangs, they think of chaotic bands of violent, racist thugs. Few people think of gangs as sophisticated organizations (often with elaborate written constitutions) that regulate the social and economic life of the prison. Dr. Skarbek argues that gangs form to create order among outlaws, producing alternative governance institutions to facilitate illegal activity. His talk will be a fascinating look into the seemingly irrational, truly astonishing, and often tragic world of life among the society of captives.
February 20, 2018
DR. CARRIE KEREKES: HANDS OFF YOUR PROPERTY!!
Civil asset forfeiture is one of the greatest threats to property rights in the United States today. Since 1970, U.S. courts have significantly broadened its reach. Many of these expansions have been justified to fight the war on drugs and to curb the activities of drug cartels. More recently, however, an increasing number of innocent individuals have had their property confiscated through civil forfeiture. Calls for reform are getting louder as law enforcement agencies openly and grossly profit from asset seizures.
March 13, 2018
DR. CHRISTOPHER J. BOUDREAUX: Crony Capitalism = Destructive Entrepreneurship
Successful entrepreneurs must continually innovate to earn business. The political process, however, offers a potentially lucrative alternative-crony capitalism. Dr. Boudreaux explores entrepreneurship through the lens of public choice theory. He examines several aspects of crony capitalism including rent seeking, regulatory capture, political entrepreneurship, and special interest politics. Entrepreneurs spend considerable effort on the channels - whether productive, non-productive, or destructive - that provide the greatest return.