Announcing the Gray Center’s Fall 2019 Research Roundtables, and Calling for Papers

On “Bureaucracy and Presidential Administration,” and on “Regulating ‘Big Tech’ Companies”

Each year, the C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State fosters legal, economic, and political-science scholarship with a series of private “research roundtables,” at which scholars discuss early-stage papers centered around a selected theme. (We’ve incubated roughly 60 papers so far, in about three years. They’re all available on our web site.) The scholars reconvene, months later, to discuss their fully developed papers at a public policy conference.

With the 2018–2019 academic year winding down, it’s now my great pleasure to announce the Gray Center’s two Fall 2019 research roundtables.

If you are a legal scholar, economist, or political scientist working on these issues, then please do not hesitate to contact me with proposals, at [awhite36 at gmu dot edu]. The Gray Center offers substantial honoraria to all authors, who agree to present a very short summary (approximately 15 to 20 pages) at the initial research roundtable, and a full public draft paper at the subsequent public policy conference.

Without further ado, here are our Fall 2019 topics:

1.) Bureaucracy and Presidential Administration: Modernizing the Civil Service and Political Leadership

On May 22, the Gray Center will host a day-long conference in Washington, D.C., for the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s executive orders on civil service reform. But because the relationship between presidential administration and professional civil service is complex and ever-evolving, we have decided to dedicate an entire cycle of new research to this issue of fundamental importance.

As the title suggests, our selection of this topic is inspired in no small part by the seminal studies of James Q. Wilson (on Bureaucracy) and Elena Kagan (on “Presidential Administration”). We hope to bring together a group of scholars to pursue these subjects in the same spirit of intellectual curiosity and seriousness as Wilson, Kagan, and other greats.

Our research roundtable will be September 19–20, and our public policy conference will be December 6.

2.) Should Internet Platform Companies Be Regulated — And, If So, How?

Big tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, and Apple are the subject of flourishing debate, one that increasingly transcends familiar partisan or ideological lines. Should they be the subject of new regulatory frameworks? And, if so, how?

The Gray Center seeks to help inform and improve these debates, by encouraging legal, political-science, and economics scholarship from all perspectives. To that end, our second Fall 2019 research roundtable will focus on debates over regulating Internet platform companies (a category that can be the subject of debate in and of itself).

Our research roundtable will be November 7–8, and our public policy conference will be March 27, 2020.


Again, the Gray Center welcomes paper proposals on both of these topics, and it happily offers significant honoraria for accepted paper proposals. You can send proposals to me at [awhite36 at gmu dot edu]. We will accept papers on a rolling basis, focused always on encouraging a diversity of topics, backgrounds, and arguments.

Adam White
Executive Director
The C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State
George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School

Postscript: A few weeks ago, the C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State announced that the George Mason Law Review’s 2019 Administrative Law Symposium would focus on “The Administration of Democracy.” We have been fortunate to receive many great proposals for papers, and we look forward to discussing the papers at our October 4 conference, at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.