James Kwak

Professor of Law
Headshot of Professor Kwak.
860-570-5424
Office: Hosmer 118
  • Banking and Financial Regulation
  • Federal Budget
  • Deficits
  • Fiscal Policy
  • Retirement Security
  • 401(k) Plans

James Kwak is a prolific writer and blogger whose wide range of scholarly interests includes corporate law and governance, financial markets and regulation, retirement security, and fiscal policy. He is the co-author (with Simon Johnson) of two best-selling books – White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You and Thirteen Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown – the author of numerous scholarly and popular articles and book chapters, an online columnist for The Atlantic, and the co-author of “The Baseline Scenario,” a leading blog on economics and public policy.

The holder of a Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Berkeley, Professor Kwak spent more than a decade in the business world before a growing interest in the law led him to begin work on his J.D. at Yale Law School in 2008. His business experience includes working as a management consultant at McKinsey and Company, serving as director of marketing at Ariba, and co-founding and serving as vice president of Guidewire Software, a leading provider of core systems for property and casualty insurance companies.

During the 2011-2012 academic year, Professor Kwak, a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, served as a fellow at the Harvard Law School Program on Corporate Governance.

James Kwak, Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality (Pantheon, 2017). An intellectual history of the development and influence of "Economics 101" ideas in the United States, with an analysis of the impact of those ideas on labor markets, financial regulation, health care, and other policy areas.

James Kwak with Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, Amir Kermani, and Todd Mitton. "The Value of Connections in Turbulent Times: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Financial Economics 121, no. 2 (August 2016): 368-91.

Working paper version: NBER Working Paper 19701, December 2013; MIT Department of Economics Working Paper 13-22, November 27, 2013.

James Kwak, Reducing Inequality with a Retrospective Tax on Capital, 25 Cornell J. L. & Pub. Pol'y 191 (2015).

James KwakCorporate Law Constraints on Political Spending, 18 N.C. Banking Inst. J. 18 (2013).

James Kwak, "Cultural Capture and the Financial Crisis ", Chapter 4 in Preventing Regulatory Capture: Special Interest Influence and How to Limit It, Daniel Carpenter and David Moss, eds., (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

James Kwak, Improving Retirement Savings Options for Employees, 13 U. Penn. J. Bus. L. 483 (2013)

Simon Johnson & James Kwak, White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters To You (Pantheon, 2012)

Simon Johnson & James Kwak, 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown (Pantheon, 2010)