Friday, August 22, 2008

Interesting Montreal discovery of the week

The sound of residential streets people are used to driving down at, say, 30 MPH, when speed bumps have been newly installed on every block but (as yet, anyway) left completely unmarked, whether by signs or by paint on the road.

It's not a happy sound-- not for the cars concerned, anyway.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Workshop on tax competition

Tax competition: How to meet the normative and political challenge?
Université de Montréal, 28-29 August 2008
Organised in collaboration with the CREUM (Centre de recherche en
éthique de l'Université de Montréal)

On the back of technological change and the end of exchange controls, capital mobility has over the last 30 or so years led to increasing tax competition. By lowering tax rates on individual savings as well as on corporate income, governments hope to attract portfolio investment and productive capital to their constituencies. Empirical research has shown that individual countries do not always benefit from tax competition, but might gain from cooperation. In determining what form this cooperation should take, two questions are of central importance :

1. What are the normative principles that should underlie such international cooperation on fiscal policy ? Simultaneously, what other, conflicting normative principles does such international cooperation have to respect ?
2. Which policies stand the best chance of implementing the selected normative principles in practice ?

The aim of the workshop is to critically assess existing answers to these questions and potentially to come up with new solutions. In bringing together researchers from economics, law, and philosophy, the workshop hopes to build on synergies between the different perspectives of these disciplines that have not been previously seized upon.

Pavillon Maximilien-Caron
3101, chemin de la Tour
Salle A-3464

Thursday, 28 August 2008


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Law School, University of Michigan)
"The OECD harmful tax competition report: a 10th anniversary retrospective"

Arthur Cockfield (Faculty of Law, Queen's University)
"Protecting Taxpayer Privacy Rights under Enhanced Cross-border Tax
Information Exchanges: Toward a Multilateral Taxpayer Bill of Rights"
Kimberley Brooks (Faculty of Law, McGill University)
"What is inter-nation equity?"


Diane Ring (Law School, Boston College)
"Tax Sovereignty as a Window onto the Limits and Possibilities of Tax
Peter Dietsch (Philosophy, Université de Montréal)
"Tax Competition and Sovereignty"

Navot Bar (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP)
"Sharing the first bite – a new approach to tax treaties"
Thomas Rixen (Social Science Research Centre Berlin, WZB)
"Tax competition and inequality"

Philipp Genschel (Political Science, Jacobs University Bremen)
"Tax competition and democracy in the EU"

Friday, 29 August 2008

Richard Murphy (Tax Justice Network, UK)
"Finding the offshore world"

Ilan Benshalom (School of Law, Northwestern University)
"The poor at our gates: international taxation and global distributive justice"
Jean-Pierre Vidal (HEC Montréal)
"Does tax competition promote aggressive fiscal policies internationally?"


Clément Carbonnier (Economics, Université de Cergy-Pontoise)
"Fiscal competition between decentralized jurisdictions – theoretical
and empirical evidence"
Ulrich van Suntum & Andreas Westermeier (Economics, University of Münster)
"Minimizing the Deadweight Loss: Income Tax vs. Death Tax"

François Claveau (graduate student, Universiteit van Rotterdam)
"Choosing our Story of Fiscal Interdependence"
Igor Paunovic (Comision Economica para América Latina y el Caribe)
"Tax competition versus tax differentiation – the case of Central
American countries"

Michael Webb (Political Science, University of Victoria)
"Understanding and Overcoming the neglect of distributional questions
in the OECD's response to international tax competition"
For a variety of reasons...

I'm not going to do too much blogging about the controversy surrounding the creation of the Milton Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago; this is all I've said so far, and I don't think I'll write any other long posts. I think the MFI is a very good idea, far more likely to do the university proud than otherwise; it's pretty clearly going to come into existence; so what's the point in further blogging about the opposition to it? And the relationship of libertarian-leaning academics to the Chicago departments whose members are well-represented among MFI opponents is a messy thing to talk about.

But it's noteworthy that, in a couple of days, Marshall Sahlins and Thomas Frank have... really not done any favors for the MFI opponents. I continue to disagree with iLYA Somin's view that opposition to the MFI is really, simply, an instance of academic ideological intolerance. But Frank and (especially) Sahlins sure put pressure on my view, and make Ilya's look that much more plausible.

See also: Brad De Long.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missoura!

The annual "Hey, professors, you're really really old now, so don't think you can pretend to be "cool" and "groovy" with the "young people" Beloit College "mindset list" has come out. Time to count the grey whiskers in your beard!

Some selections:

To members of the class of 2012 (the new frosh arriving on campus next week:
Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Freddy Krueger have always been dead.

Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.

Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.

The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.

Students have always been "Rocking the Vote."

Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.

We have always known that "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."

There have always been gay rabbis.

Wayne Newton has never had a mustache.

College grads have always been able to Teach for America.

IBM has never made typewriters.

There has always been Pearl Jam.

The Tonight Show has always had Jay Leno as its host and started at 11:35 p.m. Eastern time.

Lenin's name has never been on a major city in Russia.

There have always been charter schools.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Worthy collegiate-presidential initiative

Via Katherine Mangu-Ward: Over 100 college and university presidents have signed a statement saying:

It’s time to rethink the drinking age

In 1984 Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which imposed a penalty of 10% of a state's federal highway appropriation on any state setting its drinking age lower than 21.

Twenty-four years later, our experience as college and university presidents convinces us that…
Twenty-one is not working

A culture of dangerous, clandestine “binge-drinking”—often conducted off-campus—has developed.

Alcohol education that mandates abstinence as the only legal option has not resulted in significant constructive behavioral change among our students.

Adults under 21 are deemed capable of voting, signing contracts, serving on juries and enlisting in the military, but are told they are not mature enough to have a beer.

By choosing to use fake IDs, students make ethical compromises that erode respect for the law.
How many times must we relearn the lessons of prohibition?

We call upon our elected officials:

To support an informed and dispassionate public debate over the effects of the 21 year-old drinking age.

To consider whether the 10% highway fund “incentive” encourages or inhibits that debate.

To invite new ideas about the best ways to prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol.

We pledge ourselves and our institutions to playing a vigorous, constructive role as these critical discussions unfold.

Right on the merits, right on the attention paid to the public finance structure of the policy change, and brave to stand up to MADD. Hear, hear.
Free Inquiry at Risk: Universities in Dangerous Times

A Social Research Conference at The New School: Free Inquiry at Risk: Universities in Dangerous Times

Wednesday-Friday, October 29-31, 2008

Rapid globalization, international collaborations, massification, corporate partnerships, increasing number of franchises, regime change, and other conditions of duress are reshaping universities around the world. What are the benefits and what are the risks to academic freedom and free inquiry as universities navigate these trends? This conference will look backward at the role of academic freedom and free inquiry in research universities and forward to what the future may have in store.

This conference will be part of our commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the University in Exile, which was created by Alvin Johnson, the first president of The New School, as a haven for the scholars he rescued from the horrors of Hitler. The University in Exile became the Graduate Faculty of The New School for Social Research and gave birth to our journal, Social Research.

This conference is made possible with generous support from the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts.

Conference Program


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Session I - Founding of The New School and the University in Exile

Academic Freedom, Security Issues and The New School’s Founding Moments (1919 and 1933)
Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University; Former Dean, The New School for Social Research
with remarks: Bob Kerrey, President, The New School


10:00 am - 12:45 pm
Session II - Academic Freedom and the Origins and Role of the Research University

Free Inquiry and the Evolution of the Research University
Akeel Bilgrami, Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy, Director, Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University

How and Why Academic Freedom Became a Canonical Value
Robert M. O'Neil, Director, Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, University of Virginia School of Law; Professor of Law Emeritus, University Professor Emeritus

Who Has Academic Freedom, Who Protects It and Why?
Joan Wallach Scott, Professor in the School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Studies

Academic Freedom and Emerging Research Universities in the Present
Ahmed Bawa, Distinguished Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy, Hunter College, City University of New York; former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Discussion Between Speakers, then Discussion with Audience

Session Moderator: Jonathan Veitch, Associate Professor of Literature and History, Former Dean, Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts

12:45 pm - 2:00 pm BREAK

2:00 pm - 4:45 pm
Session III - Free Inquiry under Conditions of Duress

McCarthyism and Academic Freedom: A Past Threat to the Core Values of the
Ellen W. Schrecker, Professor of History, Yeshiva University

Academic Freedom under Political Duress: Israel and Palestine
Itzhak Galnoor, Herbert Samuel Professor of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Deputy Chair, Israel’s Council on Higher Education; Associate, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
Khalil Shikaki, Director, Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research; Associate Professor of Political Science, Bir Zeit University

Structural Transformation of the Research University: Finance, Context, and Demography
Craig Calhoun, President, Social Science Research Council; University Professor of the Social Sciences, New York University

The Offshore American University: Risk and Uncertainty in The Overseas Market
Arjun Appadurai, John Dewey Distinguished Professor in the Social Sciences, Senior Advisor for Global Initiatives, The New School

Discussion Between Speakers, then Discussion with Audience

Session Moderator: James E. Miller, Chair, Liberal Studies Program, and Professor of Political Science, The New School for Social Research

4:45 pm - 6:00 pm BREAK

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Session IV - Special Event: Conversation with Endangered Scholars from Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Belarus, and China

This panel is designed to provide concrete illustrations of the denial of the right to free inquiry and academic freedom. Four scholars who themselves have been subject to various kinds of persecution and have been prevented from remaining in their academic posts or doing their research will relate their experiences.

Moderator: Aryeh Neier, President, Open Society Institute

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31st, 2008

10:00 am - 12:45 pm
Session V - Institutionalizing Free Inquiry in Universities during Regime Transitions

South Africa
Andre du Toit, Emeritus Professor of Political Studies, University of Cape Town

Deepak Nayyar, Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Merle Goldman, Professor Emerita of History, Boston University

Post-Soviet States
Alfred Stepan, Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government, Director, Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration and Religion, Columbia University; Former Rector, Central European University

Sergei Guriev, Associate Professor, Rector of New Economic School, Russia

Discussion Between Speakers, then Discussion with Audience

Session Moderator: Ronald Kassimir, Associate Provost for Curriculum and Research, The New School

12:45 pm - 2:00 pm BREAK

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Session VI - Free Inquiry and Academic Freedom
A Panel Discussion among Academic Leaders

Robert M. Berdahl, President, Association of American Universities; Former Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley; Former President, University of Texas, Austin

Hanna Holborn Gray, Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emerita, Former President, University of Chicago

Anthony W. Marx, President, Amherst College

Charles M. Vest, President Emeritus and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Joseph W. Westphal, Provost, The New School; Former Chancellor, Professor of Political Science Emeritus, University of Maine; Former Head, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Discussion Between Speakers, then Discussion with Audience

Session Moderator: Bob Kerrey, President, The New School

Tickets may be purchased here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

ASPLP Annual Meeting: Evolution and Morality

Meeting room assignments now available.