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Earle Hepburn Professor of Law
MICHAEL KNOLL, recently named the Earle Hepburn Professor of Law, studies finance and taxes the way a mechanic fixes cars: He gets under the hood to diagnose policy pings that slow the U.S. economic engine.
In a series of influential articles, Knoll has detailed many previously unknown effects of the tax system, tackling everything from how the windfall profits tax discouraged oil production during the two oil crises of the 1980s to how the differential treatment of debt and equity under the tax law discourages corporations from innovation and risk taking.
The subject of taxes has occupied Knoll’s mind for a number of years. His work has appeared in many top law reviews, academic journals and professional publications. He argues that the issue should command attention because taxes compose 30 percent of Gross Domestic Product.
"The current system is complicated with lots of loopholes in it," says Knoll. "Some people pay too much in taxes. Others pay fewer taxes on similar incomes, so there’s a lot of waste and inefficiency."
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