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Edward J. Balleisen, Vice Provost, Interdisciplinary Studies

Edward J. Balleisen
Contact Info:
Office Location:  243B Carr Building
Office Phone:  (919) 684-1964
Email Address: send me a message


PhDYale University1995
M.PhilYale University1992
BAPrinceton University1987

Legal History
Politics, Public Life and Governance
Economic and Business Cultures
United States and Canada
Research Interests:

Current projects: Policy Shock: The Impact of Crisis Events on Regulatory Decision-making, Regulatory Oral History Project, Reviewing Retrospective Regulatory Review

I explore the historical intersections among law, business, politics, and policy in the modern United States, with a growing focus on the origins, evolution and impacts of the modern regulatory state. My research increasingly involves collaboration with historians and other social scientists who study regulatory governance in industrialized and industrializing societies. I have also started to work on an oral history project that examines regulatory policy-making.

My first book, Navigating Failure: Bankruptcy and Commercial Society in Antebellum America (UNC Press, 2001), analyzed the social experience of business failure in the age of the self-made man, as well as the legal institutions that arose to cope with this endemic feature of the nineteenth-century economic landscape.

I am now completing a monograph on the evolution of anti-fraud regulations in the United States, from the early nineteenth century to the present. Tentatively entitled Business Fraud: An American History, the book focuses on responses to “organizational fraud” – deception committed by businesses against customers, investors, and other counterparties. I pay especially close attention to the relationship between governmental regulation of commercial marketing practices and various mechanisms of business “self-regulation,” a relationship powerfully influenced by shifting ideas about the capacity of American consumers and investors to look out for themselves. The book is under advance contract with Princeton University Press, and I hope that it will be out in late 2015

In recent years, I have also delved into interdisciplinary debates about the nature of regulatory policy more generally, as well as the evolution of dominant approaches to political economy in modern capitalist societies. This dimension of my scholarship led to the publication in 2010 of Government and Markets: Toward a New Theory of Regulation (Cambridge University Press, 2010), which I edited along with the historian David Moss. This volume brings together several new conceptual approaches to regulatory governance from across the social sciences. It also lays out a wide-ranging research agenda for regulatory studies. In 2015, a sole edited three-volume multidisciplinary research collection, Business Regulation, will be coming out with Edward Elgar.

Since 2010, I have directed the Rethinking Regulation Project, sponsored by Duke's Kenan Institute for Ethics, where I am also a senior fellow. This project brings together faculty and graduate students from across the university who are interested in regulatory policy and strategies of regulatory governance. For additional information, see: http://kenan.ethics.duke.edu/regulation/

I am especially interested in mentoring graduate students who wish to study the history of business-state relations, the regulatory state, business culture, political economy, and legal institutions. Although my research expertise lies particularly with American history from 1815 to the present, I have advised several graduate students who have pursued transnational dissertation topics, or who study other areas of the world. I am also now mentoring several graduate students in other social science disciplines.

[last updated, 12/14]

Curriculum Vitae
Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Anna Johns  
  • Arthur M. Fraas  
  • Fahad Bishara  
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. E.J. Balleisen and D. Moss, eds., Government and Markets: Toward a New Theory of Regulation (New York: Cambridge UP, 2010) [available here]  [abs] [author's comments]
  2. Navigating Failure: Bankruptcy and Commercial Society in Antebellum America (March, 2001), University of North Carolina Press [book_detail]
  3. Scenes from a Corporate Makeover: Columbia/HCA and Heathcare Fraud, 1992-2001 (June, 2003), Fuqua School of Management, Duke University  [author's comments]
  4. E.J. Balleisen, Business Fraud: An American History (2015), Princeton University Press (under advance contract)
  5. E.J. Balleisen, Business Regulation, 3 volumes (2015), Elgar (A three-volume multi-disciplinary research collection, compiling leading writing on business regulation since 1870, with an extensive introduction.)
  6. E.J. Balleisen and E.K. Brake, Historical Perspective and Better Regulatory Governance: An Institutional Agenda for Reform, Regulation & Governance, vol. 8 (2014), pp. 222-45 (published online as early view, 12-12; doi:10.1111/rego.12000.) [abstract], [doi] [pdf of article[abs]
  7. E.J. Balleisen, Rights of Way, Red Flags, and Safety Valves: Regulated Business Self-Regulation in America, 1850-1940, in Regulierte Selbstregulierung in der westlichen Welt des späten 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhunderts / Regulated Self-Regulation in the Western World in the Late 19th and the Early 20th Century, edited by Peter Collin, Gerd Bender, Stefan Ruppert, Margrit Seckelmann, and Michael Stolleis (2014), pp. 75-126, Klostermann
  8. E.J. Balleisen, Private Cops on the Fraud Beat::The Limits of American Business Self-Regulation, 1895-1932, Business History Review, vol. 83 (2009), pp. 113-60 (This article won the 2009 Henrietta Larson prize for the best article in Business History Review.) [displayAbstract]  [abs]
Selected Other

  1. Convener, "Rethinking Regulation," Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminar, 2010-13, Kenan Institute for Ethics [available here]    
  2. Founder and Co-Convener, Triangle Legal History Seminar, 2006 - present [available here]    
Selected Grant Support

  • Thomas McCraw Fellowship in United States Business History, Harvard University.      
  • Rethinking Regulation, Duke University Provost's Office.      
  • Rule of Law in World History, 2009-11, Teagle Foundation, Inc..      
  • Course Development Grant for Modern Regulatory State, Provost's Undergraduate Team-Teaching Initiative.      
  • Tobin Project Fellowship, 2007, The Tobin Project.      
  • Burckhardt Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies.      

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