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May 24, 2018

Skeptical academics and journalists reject Koch-Brothers-backed claims of "free speech crisis" on campus (Michael Simkovic)

Following up on my previous post, 

A well-organized campaign to bait, discredit, and take over universities is exploiting students and manipulating the public

"The purpose of media exaggeration of incidents at universities appears to be to discredit universities in the eyes of conservatives, libertarians, and moderates.  The anti-university campaign is working. . . . Republican resentment toward universities is evident at the national level.  Recent legislation increased taxes on universities while leaving other 501(c)(3) educational organizations such as think tanks unscathed.  

The anti-university campaign appears to be supported by a network of organizations funded by wealthy conservatives and libertarians including the Koch Brothers. [At Koch-network funded events for conservative and libertarian professors and graduate students across the country] UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh, encouraged attendees to push the envelope in expressing controversial conservative and libertarian views on campus, draw the ire of their university administrations and progressive students, and document the incidents for him so that he could publicize them . . . .  Volokh has publicly advocated video surveillance of hecklers (“never interrupt the enemy when he is making a mistake … but always videotape him”) and using internet publicity to inflict “libertarian-approved-pain [on] university administrators.”  Volokh also advocated suing universities.  . . .

The Koch Brothers’ funded Goldwater Institute, seized on the non-event at CUNY to push legislation to turn state universities into passive distribution channels for propaganda, expel protestors (and perhaps people who simply ask pointed questions), centralize control in the hands of political appointees, strip financial resources, encourage frivolous lawsuits, and monitor and intimidate university officials, professors, and students.  . . . Versions of Goldwater’s proposal have already been enacted in Wisconsin—where Republicans effectively eliminated tenure protections for professors at the state university—and in North Carolina, where Republican political appointees shuttered a law school center dedicated to studying poverty (see also here) and crippled the Civil Rights Center (here and here)." 

Erwin Chemerinsky and co-authors of the Report of the Chancellor’s Commission on Free Speech at U.C. Berkely wrote:

U.C. Berkeley “spent nearly $4 million—during a time of severe fiscal duress—on security costs for [disruptive speeches by far-right provocateurs in] September 2017 alone. . . . This is not sustainable [given Berkeley’s] $150+ million deficit. . .

Many Commission members are skeptical of [Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter]’s commitment to anything other than the pursuit of wealth and fame through the instigation of anger, fear, and vengefulness in their hard-right constituency. Speech of this kind is hard to defend, especially in light of the acute distress it caused (and was intended to cause) to staff and students, many of whom felt threatened and targeted by the speakers and by the outside groups financing their appearances.”

[Excessive financial costs were imposed on U.C. Berkeley and the taxpayers of California] by “very small groups of students working closely with outside organizations” as “part of a coordinated campaign to organize appearances on American campuses likely to incite a violent reaction, in order to advance a facile narrative that universities are not tolerant of conservative speech.” 

Aaron Hanlon wrote:

Why Colleges Have a Right to Reject Hateful Speakers Like Ann Coulter

"Rejecting campus speakers is not an assault on free speech. Rather, like so many other decisions made every day by college students, teachers, and administrators, it’s a value judgment.  

[Education] has always meant deciding what people needed to know, but also what they don’t need to know—or at least which knowledge and skills deserved priority in one’s formal education.

Though the knowledge and skills we deem essential have changed over the years, the practice of curating and prioritizing them is still crucial to the mission of a classically liberal education. No-platforming may look like censorship from certain angles, but from others it’s a consequence of a challenging, never-ending process occurring at virtually all levels of the university: deciding what educational material to present to our students and what to leave out. In this sense, de-platforming isn’t censorship; it’s a product of free expression and the foundational aims of a classically liberal education.

We should think about campus speakers less in terms of the so-called marketplace and more in the terms that guide other kinds of educational programming on campus. Inviting quality speakers to share expertise and experience is an important part of the educational mission. Just as scholars routinely disagree about which material belongs on the syllabus, administrators, faculty, and students can understandably and productively disagree over what makes a quality speaker."

Are liberal college students creating a free speech crisis? Not according to data.

"There will always be anecdotal examples of overzealous young people, but conservative hysteria of campus activism is unwarranted. . . . 

According to a General Social Survey (GSS) dataset, “young people aged 18-34 are the most tolerant of potentially offensive speech and trending upward,” meaning not only that young people are already the most tolerant of offensive speech, but that they’re getting more tolerant. . . .  Sachs also breaks down a recent Knight Foundation study looking specifically at free expression on campus, and finds that college students are more likely than U.S. adults in general to support an open environment for free expression . . . evidence . . . shows going to college actually makes people more tolerant of offensive or opposing views.

Meanwhile, the “disinvitation database” created by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) . . . tracks the attempts of students to disinvite or prevent campus speakers. The database contains just 35 disinvitation attempts in 2017, down from 43 in 2016. At this point in 2018, there have been just five attempts, one of which was spearheaded by a conservative campus group. As Sachs rightly points out, in a country with roughly 4,700 colleges and universities, disinvitation attempts — let alone successful disinvitation attempts — remain quite rare.
 
The only way it’s possible to see left-wing college students as a group whose power rivals that of the presidency or the billionaire donor class is by embracing the cartoon image of lefty students as little authoritarians."

 

Political Correctness Has Run Amok — on the Right

 "[O]ne of the most troubling developments has been the persecution of left-wing faculty members whose speech has offended right-wing PC sensibilities. By this point, a long list of professors — including Johnny Eric Williams, at Trinity College in Connecticut; Dana Cloud, at Syracuse University; and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, at Princeton University — have experienced harassment, threats, and intimidation, and in some cases penalties from their own institutions for such speech. Some, like Lisa Durden, of Essex County College, have been outright fired. Many of these persecuted faculty members are women, people of color, or adjuncts who are more vulnerable to institutional power (Durden is all three).

We’ve been operating for too long with a double standard when it comes to political correctness. We’re quick to diminish left-wing concerns as fragile students taking offense, or to frame worries about campus safety in the face of incendiary speech as PC censorship when the alleged censors are from the left.

But when conservatives limit left-leaning speech, we’re spared the handwringing about campus echo chambers, "crybully" students, and the end of free expression.

Take a recent incident at Liberty University. An evangelical pastor who was critical of President Jerry Falwell Jr.’s support for the Trump administration was removed from campus and threatened with arrest if he returned. When Falwell was asked about the situation, he replied, "If we allowed him to come on campus and protest uninvited, then the next group that comes in might be a violent group, and we’ve seen recently what that can lead to," alluding to violent white-supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Va.

That justification is barely distinguishable from how a cautious university administrator might explain removal of a controversial right-wing speaker."

What Stunts Like Milo Yiannopoulos’s ‘Free Speech Week’ Cost

"'Free speech on campus' is not resource-neutral.

Indeed, in an effort to make sure Free Speech Week could go on, Janet Napolitano, the president of University of California, even offered to chip in at least $300,000 to help with security. . . . [S]ecurity concerns about Mr. Yiannopoulos’s event resulted in the postponement of a previously scheduled talk by Anna Tsing, a leading anthropologist. I doubt Ms. Tsing’s anthropology lecture would have cost Berkeley and the University of California system anywhere near $1 million. And I suspect that if Ms. Tsing were sharing the campus with a conservative like Yuval Levin or Walter Williams on the same day, neither speech would have to be canceled. Which is why spending seven figures’ worth of student fees and taxpayer money to host Mr. Yiannopoulos is less about defending free speech than it is about supporting provocation for its own sake.

Universities have a duty to keep campuses safe, not in the service of paternalism, but in the service of providing a suitable learning environment for students.  [E]scalation of security costs isn’t a response to conservative thought. It is the only way schools can respond to a deliberate right-wing strategy, driven by outside groups, to inflict disruptive and deliberately offensive speakers on campuses, and thus bait the left into outrage. The audience for right-wing speakers like Mr. Yiannopoulos is not college students themselves, but rather the culture warriors on either side of the aisle who respond to seeing campus communities in distress."

 

"How does one uphold free-speech principles and also counter the worldwide surge, from Charlottesville to Warsaw, in public displays by white supremacists? It's an increasingly relevant one, too. White-supremacist propaganda at colleges, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), increased by 258 percent between the fall of 2016 to the fall of 2017 . . .While many European countries enacted hate-speech laws post–World War II, America is unique in that it did not. . . .

The new media-savvy messengers of white-supremacist ideology have been remarkably effective in hustling euphemisms into the lexicon, particularly in mainstream conservative discourse. In discussing Donald Trump's dog whistles to white supremacists, Picciolini surprised Megyn Kelly on Today when he told her that "globalism" and "liberal media"—terms she'd used at Fox News—were massaged versionss of "the global Jewish conspiracy" and "the Jewish media." One of the newer additions is " cultural Marxism," a term with a convoluted backstory tinged with anti-Semitism that is used by the radical right, including neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer and Oslo mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who murdered 77 people as publicity for his manifesto, which bemoaned the "rise of cultural Marxism/multiculturalism in the West." . . .

There is a magnitude of difference between protecting an individual's legal right to free speech and taking the further step of uncritically promoting white-supremacist propaganda in mainstream platforms. These are dog whistles made into megaphones. Even free-speech enthusiasts, like the Pyles, don't find speakers like Yiannopoulos to be worthy of an invite. "College campuses should have standards about who they should invite. I don't think Milo has [anything of value to say],""  

Kamala Kelkar wrote:

Inside the ‘free speech’ debate that rocked a Wisconsin campus, with ripples across the country

"Since the 2016 presidential election, clashes on college campuses spurred by extremist speakers such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer have [enabled] Republican legislators in more than a dozen states to introduce bills to punish hecklers. Wisconsin supported the strictest one, requiring the suspension or expulsion of anyone who “materially or substantially disrupts free expression of others.” While conservative students say it’s eased pressure from classmates and teachers to hide their views, progressive campus activists say they fear criminalization for challenging the overbearing power of the right and its financial backers.

“There’s a myth, that, you know, the liberal viewpoint is the majority viewpoint, and that conservatives are minority,” said Douglas McLeod, a professor in journalism at the UW Madison campus. “[Conservative] viewpoints are essentially predominant in power right now, whether you look at national government or the local government.”"

Citizens United v. FEC. It essentially established that money is a form of speech and that corporations and nonprofits can spend however much they want in political contributions. Rob Robinson, the longstanding president of Young Americans for Freedom, who made $866,633 in 2016, is also a director of Citizens United, a nonprofit that espouses conservative values."

Jeffrey Adam Sachs wrote:

There is no campus free speech crisis: The right’s new moral panic is largely imaginary

"There’s no data to suggest younger people are more censorious, and most attacks on speech come from the right."

Posted by Michael Simkovic on May 24, 2018 in Faculty News, Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Weblogs | Permalink

18% jump in LSATs taken during 2017-18...

...and an 11% increase in students registered with LSAC to send their credentials to law schools.  It's clear the bottom of the application pool is now a couple of years past, how much larger the pool will grow remains to be seen.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 24, 2018 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

May 23, 2018

A slightly odd request: recommendation of an Austrian defamation lawyer?

The lawyer has to be able to read English because, even though the possible defamer is in Vienna, the defamation is in English.  Recommendations gratefully received:  bleiter-at-uchicago-dot-edu.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 23, 2018 | Permalink

Lateral hires with tenure or on tenure-track, 2017-18

These are non-clinical appointments that will take effect in 2018 (except where noted); I will move the list to the front at various intervals as new additions come in.   (Recent additions are in bold.)  Last year's list is here.  Feel free to e-mail me with news of additions to this list.

 

*Kerry Abrams (immigration law, family law) from the University of Virginia to Duke University (to become Dean).

 

*Richard Albert (constitutional law, comparative constitutional law) from Boston College to the University of Texas, Austin (effective January 2018).

 

*Hilary Allen (financial regulation, corporate) from Suffolk University to American University.

 

*Albertina Antognini (family law, property) from the University of Kentucky to the University of Arizona (untenured lateral).

 

*Olufunmilayo Arewa (intellectual property, international trade, entrepreneurship, law & technology) from the University of California, Irvine to Temple University.

 

*Mario Barnes (constitutional law, criminal law, national security law, race & the law) from the University of California, Irvine to the University of Washington (to become Dean).

 

*Joshua Blank (tax) from a professor of practice position at New York University to the University of California, Irvine.

 

*Khaled A. Beydoun (constitutional law, civil rights, torts) from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law to the University of of Arkansas, Fayetteville.  

 

 *Binyamin Blum (legal history, evidence, criminal procedure) from Hebrew University, Jerusalem to the University of California Hastings (effective spring 2018) (untenured lateral). 

 

*Jeremy Bock (intellectual property, civil procedure) from the University of Memphis to Tulane University (untenured lateral).

 

*William Boyd (environmental law, energy law) from the University of Colorado, Boulder to the University of California, Los Angeles.

 

*Samuel Bray (remedies, property, constitutional law) from the University of California, Los Angeles to the University of Notre Dame.

 

*Emily Bremer (administrative law, legislation, civil procedure) from the University of Wyoming to the University of Notre Dame (untenured lateral).

 

*Jennifer Chacon (immimgration law, constitutional law, criminal law & procedure) from the University of California, Irvine to the University of California, Los Angeles.

 

*Anupam Chander (law & technology, international trade) from the University of California, Davis to Georgetown University.

 

*Stewart Chang (family law, comparative law) from Whittier Law School to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

 

*Jessica Clarke (sexual orientation, gender & law; employment discrimination; constitutional law) from the University of Minnesota to Vanderbilt University.

 

*Frank Rudy Cooper (criminal procedure, civil rights, race, gender & law) from Suffolk University to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

 

*Diane Desierto (public and private international law) from the University of Hawaii to the University of Notre Dame (School of International Affairs).

 

*Melissa J. Durkee (international law, transnational law, corporate) from the University of Washington, Seattle to the University of Georgia.

 

*Atiba Ellis (election law, civil rights, race & the law) from West Virginia University to Marquette University.

 

 *Victor Fleischer (tax, corporate law) from the University of San Diego to the University of California, Irvine.

 

*David Franklyn (intellectual property, law & technology) from the University of San Francisco to Golden Gate University.

 

*Nuno Garoupa (law and economics, comparative law) from Texas A&M University to George Mason University.

 

*Brandon Garrett (criminal procedure, civil rights) from the University of Virginia to Duke University.

 

*Andrew Gold (private law theory, fiduciary law, corporate) from DePaul University to Brooklyn Law School.

 

*Philip Hackney (tax) from Louisiana State University to the University of Pittsburgh.

 

*Victoria Haneman (trusts & estates; tax) from Concordia University (Idaho) to Creighton University (untenured lateral).

 

*Christopher Holman (intellectual property, law & biotechnology) from the University of Missouri, Kansas City to Drake University.

 

*Robert Jackson, Jr. (corporate law) from Columbia University to New York University (though he will be on leave initially while serving on the SEC).

 

*Dalié Jiménez (bankruptcy, consumer law) from the University of Connecticut to the University of California, Irvine.

 

*Kristin Johnson (financial markets, corporate) from Seton Hall University to Tulane University.

 

*Michael Kang (election law) from Emory University to Northwestern University.

  

*Orin Kerr (criminal procedure, computer crime law) from George Washington University to the University of Southern California (effective January 2018).  

 

*Robert Knowles (civil procedure, national security law) from Valparaiso University to the University of Baltimore (untenured lateral).

 

*Eugene Kontorovich (constitutional law, federal courts, public international law) from Northwestern University to George Mason University.

 

*Rebecca Kysar (tax) from Brooklyn Law School to Fordham University.

 

*Jill Wieber Lens (torts, products liability, remedies) from Baylor University to the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville (effective January 2018).

 

*Sheldon Bernard Lyke, (property, trusts & estates, critical race theory) from Whittier Law School to Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law (untenured lateral)

 

*Suzette Malveaux (civil procedure, civil rights, complex litigation) from Catholic University to the University of Colorado, Boulder.

 

*David Marcus (civil procedure, administrative law, complex litigation) from the University of Arizon to the University of California, Los Angeles.

 

*Margaret Sova McCabe (food & agriculture law) from the University of New Hampshire to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (to become Dean).

 

*Khrista McCarden (tax) from Pepperdine University to Tulane University (untenured lateral).

 

*Jeremy R. McClane (corporate, securities, commercial law) from the University of Connecticut to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (untenured lateral).

 

*Justin McCrary (law & economics, empirical legal studies, corporate) from the University of California, Berkeley to Columbia University.

 

*Agnieszka McPeak (torts, law & technology, privacy) from the University of Toledo to Duquesne University (untenured lateral).

 

*Curtis Milhaupt (Japanese law, East Asian legal system comparative corporate governance) from  Columbia University to Stanford University (effective January 2018). 

*Seema Mohapatra (health law, bioethics, biotechnology law) from Barry University to Indiana University, Indianapolis.

 

*Peter Molk (corporate and insurance law) from Willamette University to the University of Florida, Gainseville (untenured lateral).

 

*Michael Morley (election law, remedies, federal courts) from Barry University to Florida State University (untenured lateral).

 

*Anne Joesph O'Connell (administrative law) from the University of California, Berkeley to Stanford University. 

 

*Chris Odinet (commercial law, consumer finance, property) from Southern University to the University of Oklahoma, Norman (untenured lateral).

 

*Leigh Osofsky (tax) from the University of Miami to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

 

*Antony Page (corporate) from Indiana University, Indianapolis to Florida International University (to become Dean).

 

 *Frank Partnoy (corporate, securities) from the University of San Diego to the University of California, Berkeley.

 

*Carla Pratt (education law, constitutional law, race & the law) from Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law to Washburn University (to become Dean).

 

*Jedediah Purdy (property, environmental law, constitutional law) from Duke University to Columbia University (effective July 1, 2019).

 

*Christopher Roederer (constitutional law, comparative law, torts) from Florida Coastal Law School to the University of Dayton.

 

*Jacob Rooksby (intellectual property, higher education law) from Duquesne University to Gonzaga University (to become Dean).

 

*James Ryan (education law) from Harvard University Education School back to University of Virginia (to become President of the University).

 

*Erin Sheley (criminal law and procedure) from the University of Calgary to the University of Oklahoma, Norman (untenured lateral).

 

*Christina Skinner (financial regulation, securties, corporate) from  Brooklyn Law School to the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (untenured lateral).

 

*Madhavi Sunder (intellectual property, gender & the law) from the University of California, Davis to Georgetown University.

 

*Kim Talus (energy law) from the Universities of Helsinki & Eastern Finland to Tulane University (effective January 2018).

 

*Rose Cuison Villazor (immigration law, equal protection, critical race theory) from the University of California, Davis to Rutgers University. 

 

*Kevin Washburn (Indian law, criminal law) from the University of New Mexico to the University of Iowa (to become Dean).

 

*Amy Wildermuth (civil procedure, administrative law, environmental law) from the University of Utah to the University of Pittsburgh (to become Dean).

  

*Andrew Woods (cybersecurity, law and technology, international law) from the University of Kentucky to the University of Arizona.

 

*Kevin Woodson (criminal procedure, professional responsibility, legal profession) from Drexel University to the University of Richmond.

 

*Ruqaiijah A. Yearby (health law) from Case Western Reserve University to Saint Louis University.

 

*Sandi Zellmer (environmentallLaw) from University of Nebraska, Lincoln to the University of Montana.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 23, 2018 in Faculty News | Permalink

May 22, 2018

Entry-level hiring report for 2017-18

We are indebted, as always, to Professor Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern) for compiling it yet again.  A few striking data points:  total rookie hires increased from 62 last year to 75 this year; I was expecting more like 80, but perhaps the small pool of candidates led some schools not to hire at the end of the day.  56 schools did hire, up from 42 last year.   Barring a war or economic catastrophe, I expect the upward trend in both total hires and the number of schools hiring to continue, given the stabilization, indeed, increase, in the applicant pool.  (You can see details about the Chicago placements this year here.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 22, 2018 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

May 18, 2018

Lawyer of the day: Aaron Schlossberg

Occasionally, social media catches a pathetic bigot in action.  And he's a lawyer in New York City no less.  I imagine his future prospects are not great.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 18, 2018 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

How to become a better empiricist, or at least start using empirical methods (Michael Simkovic)

I recently wrote about the evolution of economics--and law & economics--from fields that focused on assumptions and priors to fields that emphasizes data, causal inference, and scientific objectivity.  Many law professors and aspiring academics share my enthusiasm for Albert Einstein's vision of universities as “Temples of Science”, but are unsure of how to acquire or sharpen the technical skills that will make them effective empiricists.

Bernard Black at Northwestern runs extremely helpful and practical summer workshops that I highly recommend. The quality of Professor Black's workshops easily justifies the cost.  (There are free law & economics workshops--and some that will even pay you a stipend to attend--but from what I have seen, these  tend to present non-empirical methods and political view points).

Details about Professor Black's workshop are available below the break.

2018 Northwestern-Duke Main and Advanced Causal Inference Workshops 

 

[please recirculate to others who might be interested]

Northwestern University and Duke University are holding our “main” week-long workshop on Research Design for Causal Inference – our ninth annual workshop -- at Northwestern Law School in downtown Chicago.  We invite you to attend.  Our apologies for the length of this message.

 

Main Workshop:  Monday – Friday, June 18-22, 2018

 

We will also be holding an “Advanced” Workshop the following week:

 

Advanced Workshop:  Monday – Wednesday, June 25-27, 2018

 

Both workshops will be taught by world-class causal inference researchers.  See below for details.  Registration is limited to around 100 participants.  In the past we have filled the main workshop quickly.  So please register soon.

For information and to register: www.law.northwestern.edu/research-faculty/conferences/causalinference/   

 

Workshop Organizers

Bernard Black (Northwestern University)

Bernie Black is Nicholas J. Chabraja Professor at Northwestern University, with positions in the Pritzker School of Law, the Institute for Policy Research, and the Kellogg School of Management, Finance Department.  Principal research interests: health law and policy; empirical legal studies, law and finance, international corporate governance.  Web page with link to CV: www.law.northwestern.edu/faculty/profiles/BernardBlack/. Papers on SSRN: http://ssrn.com/author=16042.

 

Mathew McCubbins (Duke University) 

Professor of Political Science and Law at Duke University, with positions in the Political Science Department and the Law School, and director of the Center for Law and Democracy.  Principal research interests: democratic institutions, legislative organization; behavioral experiments, communication, learning and decisionmaking; statutory interpretation, administrative procedure, research design; network economics.  Web page with link to CV:  www.mccubbins.us.  Papers on SSRN:  http://ssrn.com/author=17402.

 

Main Workshop Overview:  Research design for causal inference is at the heart of a “credibility revolution” in empirical research.  We will cover the design of true randomized experiments and contrast them to natural or quasi experiments and to pure observational studies, where part of the sample is treated in some way, the remainder is a control group, but the researcher controls neither the assignment of cases to treatment and control groups nor administration of the treatment.  We will assess the causal inferences one can draw from a research design, threats to valid inference, and research designs that can mitigate those threats.

 

Most empirical methods courses survey a variety of methods.  We will begin instead with the goal of causal inference, and emphasize how to design research to come closer to that goal.  The methods are often adapted to a particular study.  Some of the methods are covered in PhD programs, but rarely in depth, and rarely with a focus on credible causal inference and which methods to use with messy, real-world datasets and limited sample sizes.  Several workshop days will include a Stata “workshop” to illustrate selected methods with real data and Stata code.

 

Advanced Workshop Overview:  The advanced workshop provides in-depth discussion of selected topics that are beyond what we can cover in the main workshop.  Principal topics for 2018 include:  Day 1 (Mon.):  Principal stratification (generalization of causal-IV concepts and applications, including sample censoring through death or attrition.   Day 2 (Tues.):  Direct and indirect causal effects.  Synthetic controls and other advanced “matching” approaches with emphasis on panel data sets.  Day 3 (Wed.):  Application of machine learning methods to causal inference.

 

Target audience for main workshop:  Quantitative empirical researchers (faculty and graduate students) in social science, including law, political science, economics, many business-school areas (finance, accounting, management, marketing, etc), medicine, sociology, education, psychology, etc. –anywhere that causal inference is important.

 

We will assume knowledge, at the level of an upper-level college econometrics or similar course, of multivariate regression, including OLS, logit, and probit; basic probability and statistics including conditional and compound probabilities, confidence intervals, t-statistics, and standard errors; and some understanding of instrumental variables.  Despite its modest prerequisites, this course should be suitable for most researchers with PhD level training and for empirical legal scholars with reasonable but more limited training.  Even for recent PhD’s, there will be much that you don’t know, or don’t know as well as you should.

 

Target Audience for Advanced Workshop: Empirical researchers who are reasonably familiar with the basics of causal inference (from our main workshop or otherwise), and want to extend their knowledge.  We will assume familiarity with potential outcomes notation, difference-in-differences, regression discontinuity, panel data, and instrumental variable designs, but will not assume expertise in any of these areas.

 

Main Workshop faculty (in order of appearance)

Donald B. Rubin (Harvard University, Department of Statistics)

Donald Rubin is John L. Loeb Professor of Statistics, Harvard University.  His work on the “Rubin Causal Model” is central to modern understanding of when one can and cannot infer causation from regression.  Principal research interests:  statistical methods for causal inference; Bayesian statistics; analysis of incomplete data.  Web page, with link to CV: https://statistics.fas.harvard.edu/people/donald-b-rubin; Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Rubin 

 

Justin McCrary (University of California, Berkeley, Law School)

Justin McCrary is Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley.  Principal research interests: crime and urban problems, law and economics, corporations, employment discrimination, and empirical legal studies.  Web page with link to CV: http://www.econ.berkeley.edu/~jmccrary/.

 

Jens Hainmueller (Stanford University, Department of Political Science)

Jens Hainmueller is Professor in the Stanford Political Science Department, and co-Director of the Stanford Immigration Policy Lab.  He also holds a courtesy appointment in the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  His research interests include statistical methods, political economy, and political behavior.  Web page with link to CV:  http://www.stanford.edu/~jhain//.  Papers on SSRN: https://ssrn.com/author=739013.

 

Advanced Workshop Faculty (in order of appearance)

Donald Rubin (see above)

 

Fabrizia Mealli (University of Florence, Department of Statistics and Computer Science)

Fabrizia Mealli is Professor of Statistics at the University of Florence and external research associate at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex.  Her research focuses on causal inference and simulation methods, program evaluation, missing data, and Bayesian inference.  She is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, and associate editor of Journal of the American Statistical Association (JASA), Biometrics, and Annals of Applied Statistics. Web page with link to CV:  http://local.disia.unifi.it/mealli/ 

 

Yiqing Xu (University of California San Diego, Department of Political Science)

Yiqing Xu is Assistant Professor of Political Science at University of California, San Diego. His main methods research involves causal inference with panel data.  Website: http://yiqingxu.org/.

 

Justin Grimmer (University of Chicago, Department of Political Science)

Justin Grimmer is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago.  His primary research interests include political representation, Congressional institutions, and text as data methods.  Website:https://www.justingrimmer.org/

 

Main Workshop Outline

Monday June 18 (Donald Rubin): Introduction to Modern Methods for Causal Inference

Overview of causal inference and the Rubin “potential outcomes” causal model.  The “gold standard” of a randomized experiment.  Treatment and control groups, and the core role of the assignment (to treatment) mechanism.  Causal inference as a missing data problem, and imputation of missing potential outcomes.  Rerandomization.  One-sided and two-sided noncompliance.  

 

Tuesday June 19 (Justin McCrary): Matching and Reweighting Designs for “Pure” Observational Studies

The core, untestable requirement of selection [only] on observables.  Ensuring covariate balance and common support.  Subclassification, matching, reweighting, and regression estimators of average treatment effects.  Propensity score methods.  Methods that aim directly at covariate balance.

 

Wednesday June 20 (Justin McCrary): Instrumental variable methods

Causal inference with instrumental variables (IV), including (i) the core, untestable need to satisfy the “only through” exclusion restriction; (ii) heterogeneous treatment effects; and (iii) intent-to-treat designs for randomized trials (or quasi-experiments) with noncompliance.  

 

Thursday June 21 (Jens Hainmueller): Panel Data and Difference-in-Differences

Panel data methods:  pooled OLS, random effects, correlated random effects, and fixed effects.  Simple two-period DiD.  The core “parallel changes” assumption.  Testing this assumption.  Leads and lags and distributed lag models.  When does a design with unit fixed effects become DiD?  Accommodating covariates.  Triple differences.  Robust and clustered standard errors.  Introduction to synthetic controls.

 

Friday morning June 22 (Jens Hainmueller): Regression Discontinuity

(Regression) discontinuity (RD) research designs: sharp and fuzzy designs; bandwidth choice; testing for covariate balance and manipulation of the threshold; discontinuities as substitutes for true randomization and sources of convincing instruments.

 

Friday afternoon:  Feedback on your own research

Attendees will present their own research design questions from current work in breakout sessions and receive feedback on research design.  Session leaders:  Bernie Black, Mat McCubbins, Jens Hainmueller.  Additional parallel sessions if needed to meet demand.

 

Stata and R sessions

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, we will either run parallel Stata and R sessions to illustrate actual code to implement the designs discussed in the lectures, or build Stata code into the lecture slides.

 

Advanced Workshop Outline

Monday June 25 (Donald Rubin and Fabrizia Mealli): Principal Stratification and Censoring

Generalizing the causal-IV strata of compliers-always takers-never takers-defiers.  Which treatment effects can be estimated for which strata?  Handling missing data and censoring through “death” or attrition.

 

Tuesday June 26 morning (Donald Rubin and Fabrizia Mealli): Direct and indirect causal effects.  

“Mediation” analysis:  Direct and indirect causal effects versus principal associative and dissociative effects.

 

Tuesday June 26 afternoon (Yiqing Xu): Advanced matching

Advanced matching and reweighting methods, with an emphasis on panel data applications.  Generalized synthetic controls.  Relative strengths and weaknesses of different matching and reweighting approaches.

 

Wednesday June 27 (Justin Grimmer): Machine learning (predictive inference) meets causal inference

Introduction to machine learning approaches.  When and how can machine learning methods be applied to causal inference questions.

 

Registration and Workshop Cost

Main Workshop: tuition is $900 ($600 for graduate students (PhD, SJD, or law) and post-docs.  The workshop fee include all materials, temporary Stata 15 license, breakfast, lunch, snacks, and an evening reception on the first workshop day.

 

Advanced Workshop:  tuition is $600 ($400 for graduate students (PhD, SJD, or law) and post-docs.  There is a $100 discount for persons attending both workshops.

 

You can cancel from either workshop five weeks in advance (May 14 for main workshop, May 21 for advanced workshop) for a 75% refund and by three weeks in advance 50% refund (in each case, less credit card processing fee), but there are no refunds after that.  

 

We know the workshop is not cheap.  We use the funds to pay our speakers and for meals and other expenses; we don’t pay ourselves.

 

Workshop Schedule

You should plan on full days, roughly 9:00-5:00.  Breakfast will be available at 8:30.


Questions about the workshops

Please email Bernie Black (bblack@northwestern.edu) or Mat McCubbins (mathew.mccubbins@duke.edu) for substantive questions or fee waiver requests, and Laura Dimitrijevic (causalinference@law.northwestern.edu) for logistics and registration.

Posted by Michael Simkovic on May 18, 2018 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Science, Student Advice | Permalink

May 17, 2018

Open Letter from Jewish Law Professors Protesting the Treatment of Professor Katherine Franke

Thanks to Ariela Gross (USC) for sending this along; I would have signed had I been asked (I'm admittedly only half Jewish, but it's the better half).  The letter is below the fold, as well as the list of signatories:

We, the undersigned, write to protest the refusal of the State of Israel to permit entry to Professor Katherine Franke of Columbia University Law School, along with Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Franke and Warren arrived to meet with Israeli and Palestinian colleagues. They were questioned for 14 hours before being sent back home without entry. As colleagues of Professor Franke, we know her as a serious scholar of gender, sexuality, civil rights, and human rights and as the author of one book, numerous well-regarded law review articles, and a second forthcoming book. She holds a chaired professorship at Columbia Law School, where she has also served as vice dean, and she has testified before congress and contributed to several edited volumes.

While much of her work has focused on gender equality and civil rights for African Americans, Professor Franke has been deeply engaged in and concerned about the status of Palestinians both within Israel and under the Israeli occupation. She has worked as a mentor to colleagues in human rights at Al Quds University in Jerusalem. Professor Franke had travelled to Israel as part of a civil rights delegation with the Center for Constitutional Rights and as an academic to meet with Columbia graduate students in Haifa and Ramallah and to meet with faculty at An-Najah University about a possible master’s program in human rights. She previously served as a member of the academic advisory council of Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization that supports elements of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Presumably, it is Professor Franke’s former affiliation with Jewish Voice for Peace and its position on BDS that led to her exclusion. The Knesset has passed a series of laws, most recently in 2017, directed against those who support a boycott, including those who support a boycott of settlement products in the occupied territories. In addition, and with the support of Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Knesset has passed several bills in recent years limiting the right to open and free expression. While some of us agree with Professor Franke’s substantive views, and some of us do not, we are united in our serious concern at her recent exclusion from the country, and the growing trend to exclude visitors based on their viewpoint and beliefs. Denying entry to those with dissenting views is a worrying sign of the erosion of democratic foundations in Israel.

A critical measure of a society’s commitment to democracy lies in its willingness to tolerate political views at odds with those of the ruling regime. We have seen examples around the world, from Turkey to Hungary to Venezuela, of increasing intolerance for dissenting views—and for the very principles of liberal democracy. By its latest action against Katherine Franke and Vincent Warren, the Israeli government has registered its own indifference to the core values of democracy and a deeply concerning unwillingness to tolerate dissenting viewpoints. As Jewish law professors dedicated to democratic values and academic freedom, we call on our academic communities and our academic institutions to stand in support of Professor Franke and the principles which were violated by the denial of entry. We also call on the Israeli government to reconsider its recent steps and permit Katherine Franke and all those who support peaceful political dialogue and engagement to enter the country.

  1. Richard L. Abel, Connell Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus and Distinguished Research Professor, UCLA Law School
  2. David Abraham, Professor of Law, University of Miami Law School
  3. Kathryn Abrams, Herma Hill Kay Distinguished Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law
  4. Libby Adler, Professor of Law and Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Northeastern University
  5. Erez Aloni, Assistant Professor, Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia
  6. Scott Altman, Virginia S. and Fred H. Bice Professor of Law, University of Southern California
  7. Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale Law School
  8. Jon Bauer, Clinical Professor of Law and Richard D. Tulisano '69 Scholar in Human Rights, University of Connecticut School of Law
  9. Paul Schiff Berman, Walter S. Cox Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
  10. Susanna Blumenthal, William Prosser Professor of Law and Professor of History, University of Minnesota Law School
  11. Linda Bosniak, Distinguished Professor, Rutgers Law School
  12. Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, UC Berkeley Law School
  13. Brenda Cossman, Professor of Law, University of Toronto
  14. Anne C. Dailey, Evangeline Starr Professor of Law, University of Connecticut Law School
  15. Joshua Foa Dienstag, Professor of Political Science and Law, UCLA School of Law
  16. David R. Dow, Cullen Professor, University of Houston Law Center
  17. Peter Edelman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  18. Sam Erman, Associate Professor, USC Gould School of Law
  19. Catherine Fisk, Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law, UC Berkeley Law School
  20. Carole Goldberg, Jonathan D. Varat Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  21. Ariela Gross, John B. and Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law and History, USC Gould School of Law
  22. Bruce Hay, Professor of Law, Harvard University
  23. Deborah Rosenfield Hensler, Judge John W. Ford Professor of Dispute Resolution, Stanford Law School
  24. Morton Horwitz, Professor, Emeritus, Harvard Law School
  25. Paul W. Kahn, Robert W. Winner Professor of Law and the Humanities, Yale Law School
  26. Hila Keren, Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School
  27. Jeremy Kessler, Associate Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  28. Karl Klare, George J. & Kathleen Waters Matthews Distinguished University Professor, Northeastern University School of Law
  29. Diane Klein, Professor of Law, University of La Verne College of Law
  30. Pnina Lahav, Professor of Law and Law Alumni Scholar, Boston University School of Law
  31. Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, University of Texas Law School
  32. David Luban, University Professor and Professor of Law and Philosophy, Georgetown University Law Center
  33. Michael Meltsner, Northeastern University School of Law
  34. Naomi Mezey, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  35. Frank Michelman, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Emeritus, Harvard Law School
  36. Jennifer L. Mnookin, Dean and David G. Price and Dallas P. Price Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  37. Samuel Moyn, Professor, Yale Law School
  38. Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law, Yale Law School
  39. Darren Rosenblum, Professor, Pace Law School
  40. Tanina Rostain, Professor Georgetown Law Center
  41. Lawrence Sager, Alice Jane Drysdale Sheffield Regents Chair of Law, University of Texas
  42. Susan R. Schmeiser, Professor of Law, University of Connecticut School of Law
  43. Hilary Schor, Professor of English, Comparative Literature, & Law, USC Gould School of Law
  44. Louis Michael Seidman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  45. Amy Sepinwall, Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
  46. Peter M. Shane, Jacob E. Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
  47. Jed Shugerman, Professor of Law, Fordham Law School
  48. Dan Simon, Richard L. and Maria B. Crutcher Professor of Law and Psychology, USC Gould School of Law
  49. Jonathan Simon, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law
  50. Joseph William Singer, Bussey Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  51. Abbe Smith, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  52. Brad Snyder, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  53. Clyde S. Spillenger, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  54. Carol Steiker, Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  55. Beth Stephens, Distinguished Professor, Rutgers Law School
  56. Simon Stern, Associate Professor of Law, University of Toronto
  57. Nomi Stolzenberg, Nathan and Lilly Shapell Chair in Law, USC Gould School of Law
  58. Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  59. Adam Winkler, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  60. Gideon Yaffe, Professor of Law & Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, Yale Law School
  61. Jonathan Zasloff, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  62. Noah Zatz, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 17, 2018 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Should universities' grant agreements be made publicly available? (Michael Simkovic)

Following up on my previous post, When do donor influence and ideology undermine academic integrity? 

The progressive activist group whose efforts forced George Mason to disclose some old grant agreements has created a petition asking George Mason to disclose all of its grant agreements.  This echoes recommendations made by the Faculty Senate at George Mason following revelations of improprieties in grant funding, such as politically discriminatory compensation supplements for economics and law faculty who promoted an economically conservative agenda, consistent with the views of wealthy donors.

There are numerous other examples of improprieties, such as university based researchers working to advance the interests of the sugar industry or certain tech companies without proper disclosures.

Should George Mason disclose all of its grant agreements?  Should universities more generally?  Should think tanks and news organizations be held to the same standards of transparency?

Posted by Michael Simkovic on May 17, 2018 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 15, 2018

Columbia law professor Franke blocked from entering Israel and deported (MOVING TO FRONT--UPDATED)

NYT columnist Roger Cohen has the details.  Columbia faculty are calling on President Bollinger not to open a Columbia affiliated Center in Israel, given uncertainty about which Columbia faculty will actually be permitted to travel there.  American law professors have signed an open letter condemning the deportation of Professor Franke.

ADDENDUM:   Here is a letter from Israeli law professors and the list of signatories:  Download Franke letter English final

UPDATE:  Columbia's Dean, Gillian Lester, kindly wrote to me and invited me to share the following: 

I saw your blog's coverage of the NYT op-ed about Katherine Franke's recent detention and deportation from Israel.  Unfortunately, I was never contacted by Roger Cohen to provide input before he published his op-ed.  I'd like to think that if he had spoken with me, he would have written a different article.  The article suggested a lack of concern on the part of myself and Columbia Law School regarding Katherine's experience and regrettably could mislead readers as to our core values.  Following the publication of the op-ed, I made a statement to our faculty that I now forward now to you and that you are welcome to share.

*   *   *

Colleagues,

As many of you know, our colleague, Katherine Franke, was recently denied access to Israel, detained, and deported while traveling there as a member of a delegation from the Center for Constitutional Rights and in furtherance of her academic work. After being in contact with Katherine during her detention and offering assistance, I was glad to learn of her safe return.

As an academic institution that supports individuals with widely diverse views, the Law School tries vigorously to respect and protect a broad array of activities and points of view. Doing so will, at times, counsel against taking substantive positions on behalf of the entire community.

With that said, let me state unequivocally that both personally, and in my position as dean of the Law School, I believe that the unconstrained movement of people and the global exchange of ideas and viewpoints are vitally important to the critical intellectual engagement at the heart of our mission as a university. Efforts to restrict such exchange, whether by any country’s law or by other means, are antithetical to these baseline principles and I strongly object to any policy that would deny a member of our community access to Israel—or any other country—on the basis of her political views or scholarship. 

Gillian

I think Dean Lester's statement is exactly right, and thank her for giving permission to share this.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 15, 2018 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink