David S. Abrams

David S. Abrams
  • Professor of Law, Business Economics and Public Policy

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    Silverman 134
    Philadelphia, PA 19104


David Abrams is one of the leading young economists working in empirical law and economics. His work strives to understand and measure how individuals respond to incentives in various legal contexts. In his work on intellectual property law, he has investigated the expected impact of the America Invents Act, examined the effect of patent duration on innovation, and used natural language processing to establish more reliable measures of patent value. In his latest empirical work he has shown that long-held views on patent value and citations do not hold and introduced a new model of innovation to account for the findings. He has also done substantial work in criminal justice, including investigating whether longer sentences deter crime, how defendant race impacts judicial decisions, to what extent attorney skill affects case outcomes, and how much individuals value freedom. His interests also include law and health economics, labor economics, and corporate finance. His work has appeared in top peer-reviewed journals and law reviews, including the Stanford Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, and Journal of Legal Studies.

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Current Courses

  • LAW 613 - Legal Logic To Win At Daily Life (abrams)

    LAW 613001

  • LAW 677 - Patent Law (abrams)

    LAW 677001

Past Courses



    The focus will be on the causes of fiscal crises, a careful detailing of who wins and who loses, and then on how such crises might be resolved and, perhaps most importantly, how they might be prevented in the future. The course will draw upon the fiscal experiences of US local governments (New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Orange County, Puerto Rico), utilities (WPPSS) and states (Illinois), and the international experience from such countries as Greece, Brazil, and Argentina. The cost of such crises for citizens, pensioners, and bond holders can be significant. We seek to understand the underlying economic, political, and legal/regulatory causes of such events so that they may be prevented in the future. The importance of private information and public regulation for disciplining the fiscal performance of democratically elected governments will be a central concern. We believe strongly that diagnosing and treating the "disease" of fiscal mismanagement is an interdisiplinary endeavor drawing on finance, economics, political science, and the law. Students with backgrounds in any of these disciplines are welcome.


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