The Archives

Everything written by Todd Henderson on law, economics, and more

Implicit Compensation

The expansive executive compensation literature has two camps: one camp believes markets generally work; the other that they don’t. I am in the former camp, but believe markets and individuals that comprise them make mistakes and that those with power can sometimes use that power to serve their own, selfish ends. The only difference between ... Implicit Compensation

A proposed amendment to our Constitution

Ask any conservative what the problem with America is today, and the answer you will get is government spending. But ask that same conservative, or any conservative for that matter, what to do about it, and the shoulders will inevitably shrug. Politicians, including conservatives, simply cannot be trusted when they get control of the purse ... A proposed amendment to our Constitution

The dark side of altruism

Have you ever been tempted to buy a beggar a cup of coffee or a sandwich instead of giving money? If so, you have, like a young Anakin Skywalker, taken your first step to the dark side of altruism. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there too. The reason I offered food instead of (money ... The dark side of altruism

Paul M. Bator award

I loath the Oscars, Golden Globes, and other award shows. Is there anything worse than a bunch of self-important blowhards congratulating themselves and blathering about how they are what makes the world a place worth living? Well, perhaps, a bunch of conservative students and law professors doing the same thing might be worse. So I ... Paul M. Bator award

Should schools teach Hayek?

The Texas Board of Education recently decided to add F.A. Hayek to the high school economics curriculum. The New York Times reports: In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied, like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John ... Should schools teach Hayek?

Barack Obama, financial journalist?

When I was a student at the University of Chicago Law School, our president lectured there. I didn’t take any classes from him — he taught stuff I wasn’t interested in — but I had friends who did; all raved. The other day, I opened up my copy of the Law School directory for reasons ... Barack Obama, financial journalist?

Why Citizens United was right

Let me say at the outset, some of my prior beliefs. First, I believe in the marketplace of ideas and think that more speech is generally better than less speech. I believe the Founders shared this belief and enshrined it in the “no law” component of the First Amendment. I believe this is especially true ... Why Citizens United was right

A global warming hypothetical

Global warming critics have taken two primary approaches. First, deny the facts based on the incentives for scientists to fudge the data to get prestige and research dollars (see, for example, the East Anglia emails), based on the inherent limitations of humans to build global weather models to predict the temperature 100 years from now, ... A global warming hypothetical

Credit derivatives don’t kill countries, politicians do

Looking for something to blame for the Greek debt crisis, some observers are pointing their fingers at credit derivatives. An article in yesterday’s New York Times makes the case that credit default swaps (CDS), and specifically their sale by Goldman Sachs, are somewhat to blame in part for Greece’s problems. As I explain in this ... Credit derivatives don’t kill countries, politicians do

ROTC on campus

I’m delighted to see the news that Stanford is considering reinstating ROTC on campus. I served for four years in ROTC at Princeton, and it was one of the highlights of my college years. (President Clinton’s budget cuts — the so-called peace dividend — and an untimely shoulder surgery kept me from serving.) I am ... ROTC on campus

The efficient level of torture

Every morning on my 1-mile drive to work, I pass two signs expressing outrage about torture – one is a hand-made yard sign, the other an ominous black banner hanging from a church window: “torture is wrong.” (Yes, punctuation by e.e. cummings it seems.) Is it? I’m not sure. The optimal amount of torture is ... The efficient level of torture

Morons of the world, unite!

My wife makes me subscribe to the New York Times, and occasionally it is worth it. Take this recent essay by Roger Cohen. It is difficult to get past the faux-intellectual babble — “As it is, everyone’s shrieking their lonesome anger, burrowing deeper into stress, gazing at their own images” — but if you can ... Morons of the world, unite!