The following text fulfils
this page's promise.. to tell you "about me". If I am your teacher or colleague,
and you are curious about my background, this is the place to go. The more
formal list of achievements can be found
The material on this page reflects my views only and covers my entire background
(not just at this University). Indeed, this will probably jump with me as
I move from engagement to engagement -- so much of this information may not
reflect the specific appointment I have at the time..
I am jurist with a focus on the use of data (and other empirics) to handle legal
drafting -- from international laws to two-party contracts. Such work
requires multidisciplinary skills: mixing the work of economist, policy
analyst, management guru, sociologist and (of course) lawyers.
Such data usually covers the following aspects of legal drafting:
a) future (and present) social costs/benefits
- drafting requires thinking about the needs of your counterpart's
grandchildren as much
as present needs. Particularly in the context of EU integration of Greater
Chinese integration, the jurist must think about
how the legal draft will affect consumption, income, the creation of new ideas
and other quantifiable variables. Building a model of even a group's future
happiness (and particularly the externalities that affect that happiness)
may require many assumptions. But that does not invalidate the entire exercise.
b) political acceptability- this often
involves estimating the number of votes candidates will win or lose by
supporting a legal draft. In an executive context, such calculation my involve
the final user's legitimacy. These calculations usually involve splitting up
people affected by the draft into groups and looking at economic impacts.
Drafting un-implementable law does not help anyone... yet becoming political (or
supporting explicitly political interests) often is forbidden.
c) match with existing jurisprudence, black letter law
and decisions (where relevant) -- this is what most people think of
as lawyerly work. Yet, in many cases, its difficult to agree on what constitutes
"jurisprudence." Voting and textual analysis provide some ways of
building consensus among the non-quantitative. Yet, nothing replaces good
lawyering and drafting skills.
d) private benefits --
most legal drafting results in costs and benefits. Economics helps with some of
these calculations, but many require in-depth use of marketing, operations
management, strategic management and quantification of the other MBA/MPA arts.
e) strategic "acceptability" and
bureaucratic strategy -- who says game theory can't help lawyers?
Game theory involves plotting each person's interest, possible moves and
pay-offs. In an applied context, such work revolves more around drawing pictures
than solving integrals.
So where is the academics in this? Unsurprisingly, the best
practitioners also make the best academics. Why learn from someone who
has never actually done the thing they are teaching? Only by active
engagement with the real-world (subject to our University employment
contract!) can we hope to contribute to academics.
Rulemaking on Serbian Public Procurement
My recent work on rules governing the operating of
training related to the
Serbian public procurement
shows how even an empirical approach can help with drafting even simple,
seemingly non-quantifiable regulations. That draft uses statistics to
show where the greatest training risks existed, the costs of adoption
(high) and ways to adopt the regulation in "tranches" to maximise the
benefits-to-costs. Most important, the draft targets
outcomes -- not just outputs.
Multidisciplinary and Global Background to
Solve the Most Complex Problems
A quick glance at my background will show visiting or "regular" stints at law
faculties, business schools, politics and economics faculties and geography
departments. Most academics and policymakers agree that the problems we tackle
now too complex for any one specialty. On the minus side, commitment to a
multidisciplinary education and career takes four times as long as a traditional
career. On the plus side, you have all the tools you need to completely handle a
problem -- from high political strategy to administrative procedure, from audit
to economics. Such a commitment means moving around -- working on a gambit of
projects and teaching assignments (from redesigning an Eastern European
country's securitization law to inspecting cargo bags in a Central Asian
airport). It's easy to say that academics should draw from various disciplines
to make their own research better. It's quite another to actually use advanced
statistics in a law journal article, internal audit evidence in a management
review, and public finance in a politics article.
Engagement in the World
Theories require testing. Data needs collecting. Hypotheses need
proving (actually lack of disproving). That means advising Cabinets, Boards of
Directors or field-level specialists inspecting oil pipes. Knowledge without
action is impotence (though this may require leaving the university for a time).
The best research questions lie in the real-world. The same skills which make
for superiour academics makes for superior managers.
Firm Commitment to the Socratic Method of
One-to-One Case Study
Lectures are fun... for listener and presenter. Yet, teaching is a painful
process, of (playful) confrontation. Using theories (or legal doctrines) require
real-life situations. I usually teach one-to-one (or in small groups), by asking
series of questions. Learning to "think like a lawyer/economist/etc" requires
more than just memorizing stuff. Through one-to-one sessions, we practice
actually using the skills you will need in the future.
Use of the Healing Arts, Wherever in Need
Engagement with developing countries means using what you know to help others.
This may include a marketing programme to maximise profits or rulemaking to save
orphans. My employment contract may set limits... but I will never (if I have
authority to do so and time) never turn away a person seeking to learn something
from me or whose company, government agency or NGO benefits others.
Fancy Ideas, Simple Language
Since I was 18 years old, I had to express complex economics to smart (but often
uneducated) policymakers without a background in the social sciences or English.
That means I will try to express the complex in a simple way. Academics too
often value stringing jargon words together or using high math to express simple
ideas. Yet, I've seen how even doctors, lawyers or economics in the same area
can't understand eachother because their fields have become to "specialised"
(read jargon-infected). As Einstein famously supposedly said, if you can't
explain an idea to a 15 year old, you probably don't understand it yourself!
Commitment to openness
Academics encourage openness -- open access to data, open discussion and so
forth. This role may conflict with a particular assignment (like respecting the
confidentiality of a government service). But the default must remain pushing
for public openness. Special thanks to the officials I've worked with who have
allowed public release of our work. If you have benefitted from someone putting
their work online, don't forget to allow your own subordinates from doing the