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November 27, 2007

Student editorial on inequality

I came across a student article that may be of interest when I was reading advice by Luz Herrera (a visiting faculty member at Chapman Law) to Harvard Law students considering public interest, available here.  In the Nov. 15 Harvard Law Record (I worked for it while in law school and I apologize that I haven't removed it from my list of bookmarked websites), Andrew Kalloch has an Op-Ed on "Toward an Interdisciplinary Understanding of Inequality."  In it Kalloch calls attention, albeit somewhat unscientifically, to the connection between psychological development and egalitarianism and implicitly to the costs imposed by today's problematic inequality. 

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

November 27, 2007 in News Coverage of Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 24, 2007

Urban Law Journal (Fordham): Poverty Law Issue

The Fordham Urban Law Journal's most recent issue is dedicate to poverty law, with a particular focus on the teaching of poverty law and the place of poverty law in law schools.  The issue includes the following articles (I was unable to view the PDFs in my web browser but could download the articles and then view them):

I am planning on discussing this issue in more detail once I have a chance to read it, but this issue does look to be highly interesting to anyone teaching in the area and the Fordham Urban Law Journal and those professors involved are to be commended. 
-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

November 24, 2007 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 20, 2007

Henry Louis Gates Jr. on Wealth Gap within African-American community

Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s op-ed, "Forty Acres and a Gap in Wealth," was published by the N.Y. Times Nov. 18, 2007.  In the op-ed, Gates describes the importance of inherited wealth for 20 leading successful black leaders and proposes a whole host of steps that need to be taken, from increasing voter turnout to encouraging childhood literacy. 

Gates is the author of among other things: The Future of the Race (with Cornell West; a great book for seeing and contrasting the approaches of West and/versus Gates) and Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

November 20, 2007 in News Coverage of Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 17, 2007

Two N.Y. Times articles worthy of note

Leslie Eaton's article, "In Mississippi, Poor Lag in Hurricane Aid," Nov. 14, N.Y. Times, reports that Mississippi "has spent $1.7 billion in federal money on programs that have mostly benefited relatively affluent residents and big businesses," and that "just $167 million, or about 10 percent of the federal money, has been spent on programs dedicated to helping the poor." 

Julia Preston's "Immigration Quandary: A Mother Torn from Her Baby," Nov. 17, N.Y. Times reports on a Honduran mother who was detained, leaving her child who was still breast feeding and who is a U.S. citizen, in the care of social workers. 

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

November 17, 2007 in News Coverage of Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 12, 2007

New Amy Wax article

Amy Wax is presenting her paper, Engines of Inequality: Class, Race, and Family Structure (link is to a draft version not to be cited without permission), at Minnesota today.  Wax is also the author of a number of influential and challenging articles:

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

November 12, 2007 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 11, 2007

Empirical Paper on Tax Withholding by Low and Moderate Income Taxpayers

Courtesy of the Legal Scholarship Blog, Michael S. Barr & Jane K. Dakko presented their paper, Paying to Save: Tax Withholding and Asset Allocation Among Low- and Moderate-Income Taxpayers (available from SSRN), at the 2nd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies at NYU on Saturday.  Though not a typical "poverty law" paper (hard to define as typical may be), the paper's abstract is:

We analyze the phenomenon that low- and moderate-income (LMI) tax ¯lers over-
whelmingly exhibit a \preference for over-withholding" their taxes, a measure we derive
from a unique set of questions administered in a proprietary dataset of 1,003 households,
which we collected through the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan.
We argue that the relationship between their withholding preference and portfolio al-
location across liquid and illiquid assets is more consistent with a model of dynamic
inconsistency, and that individuals exhibit self-control problems when making their con-
sumption and saving decisions. Our results support a model in which individuals use
commitment devices to constrain their consumption. Using data on other tax-¯ling
behaviors, we also reject mental accounting and loss aversion explanations for tax ¯lers'
\preference for over-withholding." Dynamic inconsistency among LMI tax ¯lers has
important implications for pro-saving and asset-building policies, and for tax adminis-
tration at large.

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

November 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 7, 2007

Competing Ideas on the Future of EITC

I stumbled upon a paper from earlier this year that warns that the EITC is in political danger and such a position surprised me, both because of anecdotal  experiences I have had teaching about EITC in my poverty class, where even fairly conservative students tend to like the EITC though they oppose "welfare," and because a colleague at my school had written about how the EITC was not in political danger.  The debate from earlier this year can be seen in the contrast between:

Two other related articles worth checking out on this topic are:

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

November 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 5, 2007

Interesting Paper: "Global Justice and Trade: A Puzzling Omission"

Fernando R. Teson & Jonathan Klick have posted a paper to SSRN that, based on the abstract,  I thought might be of interest to readers of this blog.  The SSRN link to the paper is here: "Global Justice and Trade: A Puzzling Omission," and the abstract is below:

Economists generally agree that free trade leads to economic growth. This proposition is supported both by theoretical models and empirical data. Further, while the empirical evidence is more limited on this question, the general consensus among economists holds that trade restrictions are likely to hurt the poor. Even if the latter consensus turns out to be wrong, if free trade leads to superior growth, governments would have more resources to redistribute to the poor. It is surprising then that philosophers and human rights scholars do not advocate liberalizing trade as a way to improve the welfare of the poor as a class. While many scholars in these fields are silent with respect to the effect of free trade on the poor, some actually argue that liberalized trade is harmful for the poor, contrary to the claims of economists. In this article, we argue that any serious scholar concerned with the plight of the poor needs to address the theory and evidence regarding the effects of trade liberalization on economic growth, suggesting that the standard policy prescriptions of the philosophers and human rights scholars are, at best, of second order concern and, at worst, likely to be counterproductive in terms of improving the welfare of the poor.

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

November 5, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Upcoming: Low-Income Immigrants' Rights Conference, Dec. 6-8, 2007 Arlington VA

Conferenceart_2007 The National Immigration Law Center is sponsoring its 6th annual national conference, Low-Income Immigrant Rights Conference: Bridging Communities Renewed Strength and Promise, on Dec. 6-8, 2007 in Arlington, VA.  Registration costs increase after Nov. 30, 2007, and you can register here.  The list of speakers is available here.  The conference is supported by a huge list of non-profits from MALDEF to La Raza to NLG to the ACLU. 

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

November 5, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Seattle University School of Law is sponsoring a symposium, Feb. 8-9, 2008, on the Court's recent Seattle and Louisville School Districts cases.  There are already a number of interesting speakers, but interested speakers have until Dec. 15th to submit a presentation proposal.  Details about the symposium and info for those possibly interested in presenting is available here:

Download CallForPresentersSeattleSchoolDistrict.pdf

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

November 5, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 2, 2007

Symposium Announcement: Transnational Public Interest Law: Lawyering for Social Justice

The Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs Symposium - Transnational Public Interest Law: Lawyering for Social Justice

On 02/29/08, UCLA School of Law will host a free symposium on Transnational Public Interest Law: Lawyering for Social Justice.  This symposium will examine the forces behind the development of public interest law systems around the world over the past quarter-century and explore how this development has reshaped the definition and practice of public interest law. Two central dynamics have influenced the global terrain of public interest law: the acceleration of market integration policies and the rise of the international human rights movement. Our symposium will examine how these dynamics have interacted to facilitate the diffusion of public interest law across national borders, focusing specifically on how public interest law has factored into the broader movement to promote rule-of-law reforms in developing countries.  This symposium will present work from an international group of scholars presenting case studies and theoretical analyses of public interest law from their respective countries.

(Courtesy of Legal Scholarship Blog)
-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

November 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack