Weekly Top 5 Papers – March 11, 2019

1. Should Law Subsidize Driving? by Gregory H. Shill (University of Iowa College of Law)

It’s been immensely gratifying to see my draft article Should Law Subsidize Driving? resonate so broadly in its first week. Based on the blog posts and media coverage it has generated and the messages I have received, it appears to be finding a readership around the world among scholars in a number of fields, including law, economics, and urban planning, and among practitioners as well. Traffic is something everyone can relate to, and unfortunately so are traffic deaths. Yet perhaps because it’s all so mundane, I find people often fall into views on the subject that numb themselves to the costs involved, making them skeptical of the potential for change. I ask readers to look at the evidence from law, public health, civil engineering, and other fields, and let that add to their perspective on how the legal system and society as a whole structure transportation choice.
Substantively, the idea behind the paper is to look at the role of law in contributing to the dependency of modern America on the automobile. As I note in the paper, “motor vehicles are now the leading killer of children and the top producer of greenhouse gases. They rack up trillions of dollars in direct and indirect costs annually, and the most vulnerable—the elderly, the poor, people of color or with disabilities—pay the steepest price. The appeal of cars’ convenience and the lack of meaningful alternatives has created a public health catastrophe. Many of the automobile’s social costs originate in the individual preferences of consumers, but an overlooked amount is encouraged—indeed enforced—by law. Yes, the U.S. is car-dependent by choice. But it is also car-dependent by law.”
I have been approached about writing a book on the topic, and am pursuing that. Junior law scholars don’t normally write books; I’m grateful for how supportive my institution has been. – Greg Shill

2. Fame as an Illusion of Creativity: Evidence from the Pioneers of Abstract Art by Banerjee Mitali (HEC Paris – Strategy & Business Policy) and Paul L. Ingram (Columbia Business School – Management)

3. A Constitution for the Age of Demagogues: Using the 25th Amendment to Remove an Unfit President by Paul Campos (University of Colorado Law School)

I’m glad to see that this paper is helping advance a conversation about how to modify the 25th amendment, so it can be used to deal more effectively with severe electoral dysfunction.  While removing a grossly unfit president via Section 4 of that amendment is a radical step, it isn’t as radical as electing such a person to that office in the first place, and then doing nothing about it for at least four years.  Section 4 should be understood as an emergency eject mechanism, designed to be used when the system has failed as badly as it failed in November of 2016. – Paul Campos

4. Initial Coin Offerings by Paul P. Momtaz (University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA))

5. A Brief Introduction to the Basics of Game Theory by Matthew O. Jackson ( Stanford University – Department of Economics)

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