Ajay K. Mehrotra

Professor of Law


Ajay K. Mehrotra is Professor of Law at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.  He is also currently the Executive Director and a Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation (ABF), an independent, non-profit research institute that focuses on the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law, legal institutions, and legal processes.  His scholarship and teaching focus on legal history and tax law.  More generally, his research explores law and political economy in historical and comparative perspective, with a particular focus on tax law and policy.

Before joining the ABF and Northwestern, Mehrotra taught American legal history, federal income tax, taxation of business entities, and tax policy at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.  He also taught strategic tax planning at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.  Prior to his time at Indiana University he was a Doctoral Fellow at the ABF.  After law school and before he embarked on his academic career, Mehrotra was an Associate in the Structured Finance department of the New York offices of J.P. Morgan.

Mehrotra received his B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan, his J.D. from Georgetown, and his Ph.D. in American History from the University of Chicago.

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Areas of Expertise

  • Legal History
  • Tax Law
  • Taxation

Selected Publications

  • From Contested Concept to Cornerstone of Administrative Practice: Social Learning and the Early History of U.S. Tax Withholding, 7 Columbia Journal of Tax Law 144-68 (2016).
  • The Curious Beginnings of the Capital Gains Tax Preference, 84 Fordham Law Review 2517-36 (2016) (with Julia C. Ott).
  • A Bridge Between: Law and the New Intellectual Histories of Capitalism, 64 Buffalo Law Review 1-23 (2016) (symposium on “Opportunities for Law’s Intellectual History).
  • Charles A. Beard and the Columbia School of Political Economy: Revisiting the Intellectual Roots of the Beardian Thesis, 2 Constitutional Commentary 475-512 (2014).
  • Making The Modern American Fiscal State: Law, Politics, And The Rise Of Progressive Taxation, 1877-1929 (New York: Cambridge University Press 2013) 2014 Society for U.S. Intellectual History Annual Book Award.
  • From Programmatic Reform To Social Science Research: The National Tax Association And The Promise And Perils Of Disciplinary Encounters in Law & Society Review 593-630 (2011) (with J. Thorndike).

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  • BA, University of Michigan
  • JD, Georgetown University
  • PhD, University of Chicago

Prior Appointments

  • Professor of Law & Niezer Faculty Fellow, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
  • Associate Dean for Research, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
  • Co-Director, Indiana University Center for Law, Society & Culture, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
  • Associate Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
  • Visiting Scholar, American Academy of Arts & Sciences

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