Monday, 25 August 2008

This blog in one picture

Via the Conglomerate I just came across Wordle. Wordle “is a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.” See below how this looks like for my blog:

Saturday, 23 August 2008

The Problems of Private Universities in Germany

German newspapers have just reported that the (old) private university in Witten/Herdecke and the (new) private university in Rostock are struggling – the former primarily because of financial reasons and the latter because it has not managed to attract enough student for their new programmes in law and business (see e.g. the newspaper reports here and here). In the last few years there have also been a number of similar cases where private universities experienced problems. So, one may be wondering whether this is part of a general pattern?. Looking at the specific problems I am not sure. From my experience working for private universities in the past I came up with the following general criteria for a successful private university (in Germany and perhaps also elsewhere). These are (in alphabetical order):
  1. attractive building
  2. attractive location
  3. commitment to high quality research (pure teaching institutions less respected)
  4. commitment to high quality teaching (e.g. small classes, teaching evaluation)
  5. flexible but competitive student admissions (vs. bureaucratic procedures at public universities)
  6. appealing website (not just “ok” – there are millions of other websites)
  7. international profile
  8. innovative curriculum (challenges traditional universities)
  9. reasonable tuition fees (demand taken into account)
  10. stable ownership of university. 
My educated guess is that the private universities which are struggling may only fulfil less than half of these criteria.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Regulatory Competition in Partnership Law

I just posted a new paper at ssrn (available here).

Abstract: Regulatory competition in company law has been extensively debated in the last few decades, but it has rarely been discussed whether there could also be regulatory competition in partnership law. This article fills this gap. It addresses the partnership law of the US, the UK, Germany, and France, and presents empirical data on the different types of partnerships and companies established in these jurisdictions. In the first main part it is found that in the US there is both vertical and horizontal competition in partnership law. In most states businesses and professions can freely choose between a number of entity forms, such as LLPs, LLCs and different types of corporations. Moreover, states themselves care about the attractiveness of their partnership law. This is most noticeable for Delaware’s law on limited partnerships but one can also identify some regulatory competition for the “best” LLP law. The second main part turns to the situation in the European Union. Here the legal landscape is more diverse because only the UK law knows the LLP, whereas in Germany and France there are other forms of partnership and company law which, for instance, may be used by law firms (e.g. PartG, Anwalts-GmbH, SCP, SEP, SELARL). However, these legal forms can only provide a partial substitute for the UK LLP. Since the freedom of establishment of the EC Treaty allows continental firms to choose the UK LLP, it is therefore likely that regulatory competition will also develop in partnership law in the EU.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

More on Germans in the US (and Austrians in the US; Germans in Canada)

In response to my post about Germans in the US Martin G just commented (thanks Martin, I have added a few Hyperlinks):

“Let me add two related groups to your list (in analogy to your post on the UK):

Furthermore, according to Larry Solum two Germans have been hired by US law schools this year: Katharina de la Durantaye (St. John's), Markus Wagner (U. Miami).”

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Data on Established SEs (European Companies)

Since October 2004 companies can establish a Societas Europaea (SE) (for an introduction see one of my pieces at ssrn). Data on the established SEs are available online. Now, it would be nice to do a deep empirical analysis. However, for the time being, I have just made two pictures on the number of SEs by country and by the number of employees (below). They show that in many countries only few SEs have been established and that many SEs are relatively small. This makes one wonder because the SE law had the purpose to be a legal form for big companies from all EU countries (plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Cartoons (and the scientific method)

My working day usually starts with reading Dilbert (almost compulsory for anyone working in an office) and Alex (for anyone interested in financial markets great fun too). Now, I may add PhD Comics. OK, many of these cartoons are really for PhD students only (I feel old!) but some are also relevant for anyone in the academic world. For instance, this one:

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Germans in the US

Following my earlier post on German legal academics in the UK, please find below a considerably shorter list of Germans who work at US law schools. I did not consider visiting professors and I focussed on the top 50 universities (and, of course, I may have missed a few names).

Baber Johansen (Harvard), Gerhard Casper (Stanford), Katharina Pistor (Columbia), Mattias Kumm (NYU), Friedrich Kübler (UPenn), Mathias Reimann (Michigan), Ralf Michaels (Duke), Jens Dammann (Texas), Peter Hay (Emory), Frank Emmert (Indiana University), Walter Weyrauch (Florida), Siegfried Wiessner (St. Thomas).