January 25, 2012
The Transactional Law Workshop
Posted by Gordon Smith

This semester, Afra Afsharipour (UC Davis) and I are organizing a virtual workshop featuring transactional law scholarship. Unlike the many workshops on law and economics or other topics that are housed in particular law schools, this workshop is independent of any particular law school. We meet online every other week, and scholars present working papers to a group of ten core faculty via video conference technology. It's an experiment in low-cost scholarly community building, and while the technology is not perfect, I was encouraged by our first session on January 13.

In that session, Brian Quinn (BC) presented his working paper, Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: The Performance of Earnouts in Corporate Acquisitions. Brian tests the claim that earnouts are a contractual response to adverse selection in corporate acquisitions. The empirical data in the paper is available because of the disclosure of fair value accounting data now required by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. Brian concludes, "Rather than resolve the problem of adverse selection, earnouts are probably better explained by an alternative hypothesis: that they resolve the problem of uncertainty present in corporate acquisitions."

If you are interested in transactional scholarship, this paper is worth a read.

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