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Category Archives: Legal Research

Measuring and Mitigating Racial Disparities in Tax Audits

Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research: Working Paper, Measuring and Mitigating Racial Disparities in Tax Audits. Hadi Elzayn; Evelyn Smith; Thomas Hertz; Arun Ramesh; Robin Fisher; Daniel E. Ho; Jacob Goldin. Publication

“Government agencies around the world use data-driven algorithms to allocate enforcement resources. Even when such algorithms are formally neutral with respect to protected characteristics like race, there is widespread concern that they can disproportionately burden vulnerable groups. We study differences in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit rates between Black and non-Black taxpayers. Because neither we nor the IRS observe taxpayer race, we employ a novel partial identification strategy to estimate these differences. Despite race-blind audit selection, we find that Black taxpayers are audited at 2.9 to 4.7 times the rate of non-Black taxpayers. The main source of the disparity is differing audit rates by race among taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Using counterfactual audit selection models, we find that maximizing the detection of underreported taxes would not lead to Black taxpayers being audited at higher rates. In contrast, certain policies tend to increase the audit rate of Black taxpayers: (1) designing audit selection algorithms to minimize the “no-change rate”; (2) targeting erroneously claimed refundable credits rather than total under-reporting; and (3) limiting the share of more complex EITC returns that can be selected for audit. Our results highlight how seemingly technocratic choices about algorithmic design can embed important policy values and trade-offs.”

LLRX January 2023 Issue – Articles and Columns

2023 Healthcare MiniGuide – Marcus P. Zillman’s guide addresses the challenging landscape of healthcare information that proliferates on the internet. A large measure of the information hosted on self described authoritative health and healthcare sites is grounded in speculative, e-commerce drive subject matter. Search engines drive traffic to these sites with no transparent and accountable… Continue Reading

Do classified document revelations highlight problems at the National Archives?

The American Prospect – “Presidential Document Scandals Should Take Down America’s Secrecy Industry We classify way too many documents. Unfortunately, that will probably not be the takeaway from recent events. America has a problem with classified information. But this problem isn’t the one you’ve been hearing about for the past few weeks, with the revelations… Continue Reading

Judiciary Studies Use of Online Tool in Presentence Reports

“The Federal Judicial Center (FJC) will soon begin a two-year pilot study of the impact of including data from a U.S. Sentencing Commission online tool in presentence investigation reports used during the sentencing phase of criminal cases. Called the Judiciary Sentencing Information platform (JSIN), the publicly available tool provides five years of cumulative data for… Continue Reading

Demonstrating Law Library Value Through Mission-Centered Assessment

Watson, Amanda and Karel, Amanda and Runyon, Amanda and Street, Leslie, Demonstrating Law Library Value Through Mission-Centered Assessment (December 5, 2022). Law Library Journal (Forthcoming)., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4294285 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4294285 “This paper presents a history of evaluation in U.S. academic law libraries, shares survey results about our collective professional mindset, and offer practical steps… Continue Reading

Books Unbanned

“Brooklyn Public Library is adding our voice to those fighting for the rights of teens nationwide to read what they like, discover themselves, and form their own opinions. Inspired by the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement, BPL’s Books Unbanned initiative is a response to an increasingly coordinated and effective effort to remove books tackling… Continue Reading

DetectGPT: Zero-Shot Machine-Generated Text Detection using Probability Curvature

Neowin: Stanford introduces DetectGPT to help educators fight back against ChatGPT generated papers Source: Eric Mitchell, Yoonho Lee, Alexander (Sasha) Khazatsky, Christopher D. Manning, Chelsea Finn – Stanford University – “The fluency and factual knowledge of large language models (LLMs) heightens the need for corresponding systems to detect whether a piece of text is machine-written.… Continue Reading

Layoffs by Email Show What Employers Really Think of Their Workers

The New York Times: “…As someone who’s managed people in newsrooms and digital start-ups and has hired and fired people in various capacities for the last 21 years, I think this approach is not just cruel but unnecessary. It’s reasonable to terminate access to company systems, but delivering the news with no personal human contact… Continue Reading

Spontaneous Norms in Law and Economics: A Sketch Typology

Zdybel, Karol B. (2023) : Spontaneous Norms in Law and Economics: A Sketch Typology, ILE Working Paper Series, No. 66, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics (ILE), Hamburg. European Doctorate in Law and Economics. “This article offers a concise typology of spontaneous norms – i.e., norms that are formed or sustained through decentralized… Continue Reading

Two Supreme Court Cases That Could Break the Internet

The New Yorker $ – A cornerstone of life online has been that platforms are not responsible for content posted by users. What happens if that immunity goes away?: “In February, the Supreme Court will hear two cases—Twitter v. Taamneh and Gonzalez v. Google—that could alter how the Internet is regulated, with potentially vast consequences.… Continue Reading

Why Lawyers Should Write for the Digital Reader

Rosenberg, Joseph A., Why Lawyers Should Write for the Digital Reader (January 6, 2023). Vol. 27 Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4320279 – “The legal profession has been shifting from paper to digital, a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawyers no longer have a choice about… Continue Reading

FTX creditor list shows airlines, charities and tech firms caught in collapse

Coin Telegraph: “The over 100-page long document lists every entity FTX owes money to, from Big Tech players to local businesses near its Bahamian headquarters. A complete list of the creditors owed money by the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX has been released, revealing a myriad of companies and government entities wrapped up in its collapse.… Continue Reading