Monday, 25 May 2009

Full-time academics at universities in France, Germany, UK and US

Below an interesting table which I translated from a German journal:

A few observations: (1) France: the high number of tenured junior academic staff is remarkable. (2) Germany: the main problem is that there is no intermediate level for tenured academic staff, such as lecturer/senior lecturer, associate/assistant professor etc. (3) UK: The numbers confirm my (very limited) private research (available here). One is wondering, however, what they did with readerships and fixed term lecturerships. (4) US: the only country of this sample which has the system of a tenure track.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Convergence in Shareholder Law

Another review on my book Convergence in Shareholder Law (for an earlier one see here). It’s written by Robert Goddard (for his excellent blog see here) and published in (2009) 29 Legal Studies 338. Inter alia, he writes:
[Siems] makes a valuation contribution to scholarship and illustrates the extent to which convergence is occurring. He persuasively demonstrates the difficulties with widely used descriptive dichotomies (eg shareholder versus stakeholder) and reveals the underlying complexities and richness of shareholder law (broadly construed) within his chosen jurisdictions. Indeed, his analysis provides a powerful lens through which to explore the significance of recent developments. (…) His book is destined to become an important reference point for corporate governance scholars in many academic disciplines.


Sunday, 17 May 2009

Street-life watching

My current flat is located in St Georges Street, Norwich. It has the nice feature that from my living room on the first floor I can watch the street-life taking place just a few feet below me. Since I’ll be leaving this flat soon, a few impressionistic questions:
  • On the other side of the street is St Andrews Hall. Twice a week they have a collectors’ fair: the original sign states that it takes place until 3pm, which is always crossed through to indicate that the fair lasts until 4pm: Is this just a marketing trick in order to show how popular the fair is?
  • Occasionally, a street musician is playing the guitar on the street. His most popular songs are from the Beatles and Nirvana: Which of them generates more revenues? Or does it depend on the time of the day, ie the type of pedestrians (eg families on Sunday noon may prefer the Beatles, and young persons on Saturday afternoon Nirvana).
  • Not far away is Cinema City. Occasionally (perhaps in 1 out of 10 tries), I manage to get access to its free wireless LAN. Why not always? Has it something to do with some kind of arbitrary fluctuations of the signal strength – or the wind? And why does a cinema offer free wireless anyway?
  • Only 1 out of 100 people look up to my flat. It has happened a few times that I watched colleagues walking a few feet below my window. Would it be impolite to open the window in order to greet them (which would mean shouting)? Or is it impolite to tell them a few days later that I saw them passing by?

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Another week, another conference

Cambridge again (though organised by Sydney and Vanderbilt) - on the important topic of executive remuneration.

Monday, 4 May 2009

“Pierre’s world” (a model?)

A brief reflection on Pierre Legrand, the enfant terrible of comparative law: I recently came across his new website (available here), which provides a good picture of Legrand’s past and present research. In particular, I found his recent note called “Econocentrism”, which tackles the research on “comparative law and finance”. For instance, he states:

To those who like economics with their dinner, I respond that economics has little to contribute to our quest for a deep or thick understanding of law as long as it continues to suck life out of the law and persists in approaching the law at a level of abstraction that is detached from its life-world.
These strong words should not be a surprise because it is a constant feature of Legrand’s research that he regards himself as some kind of Robin Hood against all types of conventional legal research (which now includes law and economics). This has led to many citations to his work (counted here). Indeed, this could be a good strategy since citation counts become more and more important. As critically noted by Barbara Cassin (available here):

Publiez “dirty”, publiez sale, c'est-à-dire publiez vite, publiez en petits bouts, de manière à faire beaucoup d'articles dans les revues anglosaxonnes, même s'ils se ressemblent tous. Et publiez un article absolument “controversial”, c'est-à-dire très paradoxal et stupide, (…) tel que tous les gens du domaine seront obligés de prendre position, en disant par exemple ce que dit untel, c'est vraiment de la connerie.
Of course, this can also backfire. I know a couple of my colleagues who deliberately ignore Pierre Legrand. Presumably, therefore, one has to find a balance between being controversial and not offending everyone else...