Is the Debt Cap Unconstitutional? A "Thought Experiment" from 1998

Recent discussions of whether the Fourteenth Amendment's Public Debt Clause would allow the president to ignore the debt limit reminded me of a paper on the topic that a former student of mine, Michael Abramowicz, wrote under my supervision almost fifteen years ago. Michael has since become a prolific scholar on other topics, and this year he had the rare distinction of publishing articles in both the Harvard Law Review (here) and the Yale Law Journal (here). Meanwhile, he and I have recently coauthored twice, on randomizing law (also with my colleague Yair Listokin) and on using bonds as commitment devices. I tried to find Michael's old article with Google and couldn't, so I wrote to him asking about it. With his permission, I include here his reply:

Airlines and Opting Ethics

Here’s a post with my co-author and colleague at Yale Law School, Jonathan Macey. Jon is the author of the just-published book Corporate Governance: Promises Kept, Promises Broken. Airlines and Opting Ethics By Ian Ayres and Jonathan Macey Some airlines and travel sites are trying to goose their revenues by running a new opt-out insurance […]

From Push to Nudge: A Q&A With the Authors of the Latter

“‘Libertarian paternalism’ is just the sort of phrase that makes me stop paying attention,” Levitt recently blogged. But he (and I) couldn’t stop reading about it in Richard Thaler’s and Cass Sunstein’s book, Nudge, which uses urinals, ABBA, and Homer Simpson (and cutting-edge research) to argue that by simply giving more thought to the way […]


I am not a huge fan of what people call “behavioral economics,” which is a subfield of economics that expands the standard economic models to incorporate systematic biases in the way humans act. I’ve written about some of my concerns elsewhere, so I won’t reiterate them here. I don’t deny that the insights that emerge […]