Spring 2000

Fall 1999

A Message from the Dean

Cities at the Horizon
Communities at the Horizon
Eastward from Our Horizon: U.S., China & Russia
Beyond the Horizon: Innovation and Technology

ILE Lecture: Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. L'60
Profile: Richard E. Rosin L'68
Profile: Pamela Daley L'79
Profile: Professor Jason Johnston
Profile: Howard Chang
Profile: Robert A. Gorman
Oral Legal History Project

Snippets of History
Symposium
Faculty Notes
Alumni Briefs
In Memoriam

Penn Law


Howard Chang is returning to his roots over many roads. The first American-born child of a Chinese father who immigrated in the 1950s to attend graduate school at Purdue, he has become an expert in the economic analysis of immigration law. And as a child who “grew up all over the Northeastern United States,” he has returned to the East Coast by joining the Law School as full professor in September 1999 following seven years on the faculty of the University of Southern California Law School.

Always interested in public policy, Chang majored in government at Harvard (A.B. 1983). He took a masters in public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, where his interest in economics flowered, before returning to Harvard for law school. Then, when a planned clerkship was scuttled by the judge’s retirement, he went ahead with doctoral work in economics at MIT. The following year he interrupted his graduate studies to take a clerkship with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, then on the District of Columbia Circuit bench, before obtaining his Ph.D. in 1992.

At MIT he met his wife, Hilary Sigman, and they both decided to become instructors. “I suppose going into teaching is a way of staying in school forever,” says Chang, “learning new things and thinking and writing about whatever it is you want to think and write about.

Sigman chose economics for her teaching career. Chang chose the law. At law school, Chang explains, “you have the flexibility of writing in different ways to different audiences, whereas in economics you are confined to writing in a technical mode.”  On graduation, Sigman was hired by UCLA, Chang by USC.  Fortune smiled again when she obtained a position at nearby Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ when he joined Penn Law.

Chang finds Penn most to his liking for its interdisciplinary emphasis, not only at the Law School — where he can hobnob with four other Ph.D.s in economics, as well as legal philosophers and historians — but in the close-knit strength of the University’s other departments he says, “I enjoy the benefit of strolling over to the Wharton School and attending their seminars.” 

He views as his most important scholarly work a series of articles on immigration policy, including a chapter on “The Economic Analysis of Immigration Law” for the forthcoming book Migration Theory: Talking Across the Disciplines.  In this work, Chang argues that immigrants raise rather than lower the economic status of U.S. natives, by expanding the labor supply and thus reducing the cost of consumer goods by plowing their earnings back into the national economy, and by contributing taxes. Studies cited indicate that even unskilled immigrant workers — when their future earnings and the earnings of their descendants are taken into account — increase the national wealth.

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