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Barr, Michael S.

Roy F. and Jean Humphrey Proffitt Professor of Law

900 Legal Research

Michael S. Barr is the Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy in U-M's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. He also is the Roy F. and Jean Humphrey Proffitt Professor of Law, faculty director of the U-M Center on Finance, Law, and Policy, and a professor of public policy at the Ford School. A member of the Law School faculty since 2001, he teaches Financial Regulation, International Finance, and Financial Derivatives, and he cofounded both the International Transactions Clinic and the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project of the Community and Economic Development Clinic. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Professor Barr conducts large-scale empirical research regarding financial services and researches and writes about a wide range of issues in domestic and international financial regulation. His books include Financial Regulation: Law & Policy (Foundation Press 2016, with Howell Jackson and Margaret Tahyar), No Slack: The Financial Lives of Low-Income Americans (Brookings Press, 2012), Insufficient Funds (Russell Sage, 2009, co-edited with Rebecca Blank), and Building Inclusive Financial Systems (Brookings Press, 2007, co-edited with Anjali Kumar and Robert Litan).

Professor Barr was on leave during 2009 and 2010, serving as the U.S. Department of the Treasury's assistant secretary for financial institutions, and was a key architect of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Professor Barr previously served as Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin's special assistant, as deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury, as special adviser to President William J. Clinton, as a special adviser and counselor on the policy planning staff at the U.S. Department of State, and as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter and the Hon. Pierre N. Leval, then of the Southern District of New York.

He received his JD from Yale Law School, his MPhil in international relations as a Rhodes Scholar from Magdalen College, Oxford University, and his BA, summa cum laude, with honors in history, from Yale University.

Visit Professor Barr's homepage for more information.

Recent Publications

More Publications...

Preferences for Banking and Payment Services Among Low- and Moderate-Income Households. Jane Dokko and Eleanor Feit, co-authors. FEDS Working Paper, no. 2011-13; University of Michigan Empirical Legal Studies Working Paper Series, no. 11-007, University of Michigan Public Law and Legal Theory Working Paper Series, no. 238. Working Paper.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN

Nothing Left to Lose? Changes Experienced by Detroit Low- and Moderate-Income Households During the Great Recession. D. Schaffa, co-author. Washington Center for Equitable Growth Working Paper; U of Mich. Law & Economics Research Paper No. 16-109; U of Michigan Public Law & Legal Theory Research Paper No. 518. Working Paper.
Full Text: SSRN

Big Data in Finance: Highlights from the Big Data in Finance Conference Hosted at the University of Michigan October 27-28, 2016. Brian Koziara, Mark D. Flood, Alfred Hero, and H. V. Jagadish, co-authors. University of Michigan Law & Economics Research Paper No. 18-010. Working Paper.
Full Text: SSRN

Five Ways the Financial System Will Fail Next Time. Work in Progress.

"Innovation & Regulation: Some Preliminary Observations from Financial Regulation." Proceedings of the 19th International Banking Conference (Forthcoming).

"Behavioral Finance Symposium Summary Paper." Annabel Jouard, Andrew Norwich, Josh Wright, and Katy Davis, co-authors. Proceedings of the Behavioral Finance Symposium (2018): 1-38.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN

"Mandatory Arbitration in Consumer Finance and Investor Contracts." In Enforcement of Corporate and Securities Law: China and the World, 66-85. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. (originally published under the same title in NYU J. of L. Bus. 11, no. 4 (2015): 793-817.)

"Financial Reform: Making the System Safer and Fairer." RSF: Russell Sage Found. J. Soc. Sci. 3, no. 1 (2017): 2-19.
Full Text:  MLaw Repository | WWW

Editor. RSF: Russell Sage Found. J. Soc. Sci. "Financial Reform: Preventing the Next Crisis" 3, no. 1 (2017).
Full Text: WWW

"Why the CFPB is Constitutional." Democracy: A J. of Ideas (April 24, 2017).
Full Text: WWW

"Elimination OLA is Careless and Shortsighted." Am. Banker (May 11, 2017).
Full Text: WWW

"Don't Fire the Consumer Watchdog." The Hill (January 24, 2017).
Full Text: WWW

​"Microfinance and Financial Development." In Economics of Financial Law, edited by G. P. Miller. (Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016), vol. II. (Originally published under the same title in Mich. J. Int'l L. 26, no. 1 (2004): 271-96.)

"Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Expanding Financial Inclusion to the Poor." (2016). (Ford Convening Concept Paper.)
Full Text: WWW

"International Lawmaking by Hybrid Bodies: The Case of Financial Regulation." In Handbook on the Theory and Practice of International Lawmaking, edited by C. Brolmann and Y. Radi, 262-85. Northampton, Mass.: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016.

Financial Regulation: Law and Policy. H. E. Jackson and M. E. Tahyar, co-authors. St. Paul, Minn.: Foundation Press, 2016.

"Why Trump's Financial Plan is so Dangerous." CNBC, November 14, 2016, sec. Politics.
Full Text: WWW

"It Shouldn't Be So Hard to Dump Your Bank." J. Valenti, co-author. Am. Banker (November 4, 2016).
Full Text: WWW

"Trump's Dismantling of Dodd-Frank Would be 2008 All Over Again." Fortune (December 8, 2016).
Full Text: WWW


Gave remarks on "Financial Reform under the Trump Administration," Bipartisan Policy Center, Washington, D.C., May 2017.

Gave remarks on "Financial Reform under the Trump Administration," North American Securities Administrators Association Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., May 2017.

Gave remarks on the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project, um3Detroit, Ann Arbor, May 2017.

Provided testimony before the House Financial Services Committee Hearing on the Financial Choice Act, April 2017.

Moderator, "Insights from Research," FDIC Economic Inclusion Summit: Strategies to Bring Consumers Into the Financial Mainstream, Arlington, Virginia, April 2017.

Presented guest lectures on Trends in Global Financial Regulation for the International Commercial Bank of China, University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Ann Arbor, April 2017.

Participant, National Consumer Protection Roundtable, Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, Michigan, April 2017.

Gave remarks on "Interdisciplinary Cities," Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project, University of Michigan School of Architecture, Ann Arbor, April 2017.

Commentator, "Financial Regulation and the Rule of Law," Wharton School, Philadelphia, April 2017.

Filed amicus brief in U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on behalf of financial regulation scholars in PHH Corp. v Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, March 2017.

Panelist, "Bending the Arc: Strategies to Advance Democracy, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law in the New Administration," Yale Law School, New Haven, Connecticut, March 2017.

Panelist, "The Future of Financial Regulation," SIEPR, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, March 2017.

Presented "Innovation and Regulation" at the Complexity and the Law conference, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, February 2017.

Presented (with Michael Gordon and Hannah Smotrich) "Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project," University of Michigan Florida Seminars, Manalapan, Florida, February 2017.

Panelist, "Payments Systems," Seventh Emerging Markets Finance Conference, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India, December 2016.

Panelist, "Storming the Court at 25: Lessons from HCC v. Sale for Student Lawyering Against Long Odds,” Yale Law School, December 2016.

Gave remarks on "Innovation and Regulation" at the 19th Annual International Banking Conference on Achieving Financial Stability: Challenges to Prudential Regulation conference, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, November 2016.

Organized Big Data in Finance conference, Center on Finance, Law & Policy and United States Treasury, Office of Financial Research, Ann Arbor, October 2016. Keynotes by SEC Commissioner Kara Stein, OFR Director Richard Berner, and Harvard Economist Sendhil Mullainathan.

Gave remarks on "Teaching Financial Regulation," Conference on the New Pedagogy of Financial Regulation, Columbia Law School, New York, October 2016.

Gave remarks and moderated "What's Next for the CFPB," Corporation for Enterprise Development, Asset Learning Conference, Washington, D.C., September 2016.

Gave remarks on "What We Don't Know" at the Causes of and Policy Responses to the U.S. Financial Crisis: What Do We Know Now that the Dust Has Settled? conference, MIT Golub Center for Finance and Policy, Cambridge, Massachusetts, September 2016.

Gave remarks on "Teaching Financial Stability Law," Office of Financial Research, Washington, D.C., September 2016.

Awarded $25,000 grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation for Conference on Big Data in Finance, Fall 2016.

Awarded $100,000 grant from the Omidyar Network for interdisciplinary project on policies regarding consumer ownership and portability of financial data, Fall 2016.

Worked with the Kellogg Foundation and JP Morgan Chase Foundation to develop $6.5 million loan fund at the Detroit Development Fund for Detroit entrepreneurs and small businesses.​

Awarded $60,000 MCubed Grant from University of Michigan to launch interdisciplinary Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project (with H. Smotrich & M. Wellman).​

Awarded $127,000 grant from JP Morgan Chase Foundation to support development of University of Michigan Law School clinic for Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project.​

Gave remarks on "Instant Payments" and "10 Policy Ideas for Financial Inclusion" at the Center for Financial Services Innovation Emerge Conference, New Orleans, June 2016.​

Gave remarks on "Regulating for Financial Stability in Uncertainty" at IMF, Washington, D.C., April 2016.​

Gave remarks on "Minority and Women Entrepreneurs: Building Capital, Network, and Skills" at the Color of Wealth Summit, Washington, D.C., April 2016.​

Moderator, "Payments at the Edge," Payments Innovation Conference, Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 2016.​

Gave remarks on "Financial Inclusion" at the Return of the American City, Redeeming the American Dream Symposium, University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, March 2016.​

Gave remarks on "The Role of Lawyers in Financial Regulation” at Columbia Law School, New York, March 2016.​

Gave remarks on "Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Expanding Financial Inclusion to the Poor" at the Ford Foundation, New York, March 2016.​

Moderator and panelist, "Financial Services, Consumer Protection, and Mobility: The Next Five Years​," Center for American Progress, February 2016.

Gave remarks on "Finance and Inequality" at the Legal Solutions to Wealth Inequality symposium sponsored by the Black Allied Law Students Association, New York University Law School, New York, February 2016.​

Gave remarks on "Beyond Bitcoin: The Future of Blockchain and Disruptive Financial Technologies" at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., January 2016.