Paul Gowder


Welcome! Perhaps you'd like to learn about my book, The Rule of Law in the Real World (Cambridge, 2016)?

You can also jump straight to my CV, or keep reading to learn about me and my work.

About Me

I'm a law professor who has taught for five years at the University of Iowa. I have a J.D. from Harvard. I'm also a political scientist, and have a Ph.D. from Stanford, where I focused on normative political theory as well as political institutions; I hold courtesy (zero-time) appointments in the UI Departments of Political Science and Philosophy. In the 2014-5 academic year, I was a Member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study.

Over the last few years, my research has been focused on understanding the rule of law as an ideal at the nexus of normative political theory, constitutional law, and social science; this has culminated in a book, The Rule of Law in the Real World, which will be on shelves, courtesy of Cambridge University Press, around the end of January 2016.

I've also published research about critical race theory; about Classical Athenian law and political thought; about corruption; about economic equality, markets, and liberty; and about the Affordable Care Act. (These topics are actually connected!) I'm now embarking on some exciting new projects, investigating democratic theory and judicial review, as well as the jurisprudential implications of quantitative prediction of judicial decisions.

I approach all these questions with an eclectic toolbox including normative and conceptual techniques from philosophy, game theory and statistical methods from political science, and of course legal analysis. Lately, I've been adding computational work into the mix, and have written a few thousand lines of code in Python and R over the last few months, as well as a touch of Javascript, and, more recently, a surprising and surprisingly pleasant amount of Clojure.

In the classroom, I usually find myself teaching Constitutional Law (I and II), Torts, and in the past and possible future the Policy Lab, Professional Responsibility (legal ethics). Back in grad school, I participated in teaching a number of topical courses in contemporary political theory in various ways. One day, I intend to find an excuse to teach Classical Athenian Law, Jurisprudence, and/or Quantitative and Computational methods for lawyers, and a hybrid political theory/social scientific methods seminar, all of which I've been scheming up for years.