Rethinking Law School Tenure Standards (20 February 2019)

Asian Institute of International Financial Law
Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong


Rethinking Law School Tenure Standards

Kyle Rozema
Wachtell Lipton Fellow in Behavioral Law and Economics
University of Chicago Law School

Wednesday, 20 February 2019
1:30 – 2:30 pm
Room 624, 6/F Cheng Yu Tung Tower
The University of Hong Kong

Academic departments decide on tenure standards with limited evidence about their accuracy and efficacy. The authors study the implications of stricter tenure standards in law schools, an environment in which 95 percent of all tenure track hires receive tenure. To do so, the authors construct a novel dataset of the articles and citation counts of 1,720 law professors who were granted tenure at top-100 law schools between 1970 and 2007. The authors first show that pre-tenure research records are highly predictive of future academic impact. The authors then simulate the costs and benefits of applying stricter tenure standards using predictions of law professors’ future academic impact at the time of their tenure decision. Of faculty members not tenured under stricter standards, only 5 percent have greater future academic impacts than their counterfactual replacements. Moreover, increasing tenure denials by 10 percentage points would increase the academic impact of a school’s median professor by over 50 percent. This research is a joint work with Adam Chilton and Jonathan Masur of the University of Chicago Law School.

Kyle Rozema is the Wachtell Lipton Fellow in Behavioral Law and Economics at the University of Chicago Law School. Starting in July 2019, he will be an Associate Professor of Law at the Washington University School of Law. Kyle’s research interests are in how legal rules affect economic inequality, disparate outcomes, and discrimination. To study these questions, he uses a range of empirical methods, collaborates across disciplines, and collects original data. His main research interests are in tax law and policy. Kyle’s tax research explores the distributional consequences of taxes and the interactions between tax laws and other public policies. Much of his tax research to date seeks to understand the extent to which the distributional consequences of tax laws are more nuanced than conventional wisdom would suggest. Beyond tax law, Kyle conducts empirical research on bias and discrimination in the law in general, largely focusing on the manners in which discrimination can affect employment patterns in law-related professions.

The Law & Economics Workshop, directed by Dr Angela Huyue Zhang, is a forum devoted to discussing the latest research in law and economics featuring both external and internal speakers. The Workshop aims to promote interdisciplinary research, and to foster collaboration between law professors and scholars from other disciplines. Anyone with a keen interest in law and economics is welcome.