Daniel Markovits

Guido Calabresi Professor of Law

(on leave, spring 2021)

Daniel Markovits is Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He works in the philosophical foundations of private law, moral and political philosophy, and behavioral economics.

Daniel Markovits

Contact Information

Faculty Assistant

Patricia Milardo

Education & Curriculum Vitae

J.D., Yale Law School, 2000

B.Phil./D.Phil. (Philosophy), University of Oxford, 1994/1999

M.Sc (Econometrics and Mathematical Economics), London School of Economics, 1992

B.A. (Mathematics), Yale University, 1991

Courses Taught

  • Contracts
  • Advanced Contracts
  • Federal Income Taxation
  • Law and Globalization
  • The Theory & History of Toleration
  • Meritocracy and Inequality
  • Seminar in Private Law

Daniel Markovits is Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Private Law.

Markovits works in the philosophical foundations of private law, moral and political philosophy, and behavioral economics. He publishes in a range of disciplines, including in Science, The American Economic Review, and The Yale Law Journal.

Markovits’s current book, The Meritocracy Trap (forthcoming, Penguin Press), places meritocracy at the center of rising economic inequality and social and political dysfunction. The book takes up the law, economics, and politics of human capital to identify the mechanisms through which meritocracy breeds inequality and to expose the burdens that meritocratic inequality imposes on all who fall within meritocracy’s orbit.

After earning a B.A. in Mathematics, summa cum laude from Yale University, Markovits received a British Marshall Scholarship to study in England, where he was awarded an M.Sc. in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics from the L.S.E. and a B.Phil. and D.Phil. in Philosophy from the University of Oxford. Markovits then returned to Yale to study law and, after clerking for the Honorable Guido Calabresi, joined the faculty at Yale.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Black Lives Matter Might Just Save American Democracy — A Commentary by Oona Hathaway ’97 and Daniel Markovits ’00

Oona Hathaway ’97 is the Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale Law School. Daniel Markovits ’00 is the Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A Wealth Tax Is the Logical Way to Support Coronavirus Relief — A Commentary by Daniel Markovits ’00

Daniel Markovits ’00 is Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

Monday, February 3, 2020

How McKinsey Destroyed the Middle Class — A Commentary by Daniel Markovits ’00

Daniel Markovits ’00 is Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Arthur Ripstein Speaks on “A Wrong Personal to You”

At the Seminar in Private Law on January 28, 2020, Arthur Ripstein, Professor of Law and Philosophy and University Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, presented his paper “A Wrong Personal to You.”

Friday, January 24, 2020

Seminar in Private Law Focuses on Private Law and Inequality

The Seminar in Private Law for spring 2020 will devote itself the question of private law and inequality.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

How Meritocracy Worsens Inequality—and Makes Even the Rich Miserable

Guido Calabresi Professor of Law Daniel Markovits ’00 spoke to Yale Insights about the ideas in his recent book, The Meritocracy Trap.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Professor Markovits on the Meritocracy Trap

Guido Calabresi Professor of Law Daniel Markovits ’00 discusses the problems with meritocracy in his new book The Meritocracy Trap.

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Meritocrat Who Wants to Unwind the Meritocracy

Guido Calabresi Professor of Law Daniel Markovits ’00 is interviewed in The New York Times about his new book The Meritocracy Trap: How America’s Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class and Devours the Elite.

Monday, August 19, 2019

How Life Became an Endless, Terrible Competition — A Commentary by Daniel Markovits '00

Daniel Markovits ’00 is the Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Seminar Returns to Argentina with Gender and Equality Focus

Legal scholars from Yale Law School and 14 countries convened in Buenos Aires in June for the 24th annual Seminario en Latinoamérica de Teoría Constitutional y Política, or SELA, this year addressing the topic of gender and equality.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Lisa Austin on Privacy, Social Identity, and Manipulation

At the Seminar in Private Law, Professor Lisa Austin, Chair in Law and Technology, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, led the session titled “Privacy, Social Identity and Manipulation.”

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Sheila Jasanoff on the Subjects of Reason

At the Seminar in Private Law, Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, discussed her paper “Subjects of Reason: Goods, Markets and Competing Imaginaries of Global Governance.”

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Brishen Rogers Discusses How Technology Really Changes Work

Brishen Rogers, an Associate Professor of Law at Temple University Beasley School of Law, spoke about the political economy of technology in the workplace at the Seminar in Private Law on February 26, 2019.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Julie Cohen Speaks on Her New Book “Between Truth and Power”

Professor of Law and Technology at Georgetown Law Center Julie Cohen discussed the relationship between law and new technologies at the Seminar in Private Law on February 19, 2019.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Doctoral Scholarship Conference Will Be Held December 4–5

The Fifth Annual Doctoral Scholarship Conference will be held at Yale Law School on December 4 and 5, 2015.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Ending excessive police force starts with new rules of engagement—A Commentary by Ian Ayres ’86 and Daniel Markovits ’00

Ian Ayres ’86 is the William K. Townsend Professor of Law at Yale Law School and Daniel Markovits ’00 is the Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Symposium to Explore the Impact of Money on Society

A symposium focusing on the power of money in society and social influences on its formation and use will take place at the Yale School of Management and Yale Law School on Friday, September 12.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Professor Daniel Markovits ’00 to Discuss Market Solidarity in Guido Calabresi Inaugural Lecture April 9

Daniel Markovits ’00 will present his inaugural lecture as the Guido Calabresi Professor of Law on April 9, 2012, speaking on “Market Solidarity.”

Friday, September 9, 2011

Professors Fish and Markovits Open Law and Religion Series with Debate on Democracy, Diversity, and Disagreement

Professors Stanley Fish and Daniel Markovits ’00 will debate “Democracy, Diversity, and Disagreement” on Sept. 14, 2011.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Yale Law Professors Establish Website to Encourage Tax Cut Givebacks

Yale Law School professors Daniel Markovits ’00 and Jacob Hacker have set up a website to encourage Americans who wish to do so to give back their tax cuts.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chairs Conferred on YLS Professors Richard Brooks and Daniel Markovits ’00

Richard Brooks has been named the Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law at Yale Law School, and Daniel Markovits ’00 has been named the Guido Calabresi Professor of Law.

Monday, October 12, 2009

SELA Participants Gather in Paraguay to Examine Law and Sexuality

Nearly 100 lawyers and legal scholars from North and South America gathered in Asunción, Paraguay, this past June for the 2009 SELA meeting.


A Modern Legal Ethics: Adversary Advocacy in a Democratic Age (Princeton University Press, 2008)

Contract Law and Legal Methods (Foundation Press, 2012)

Contracts: Law, Theory, and Practice (Foundation Press, 2018) (with Gabriel Rauterberg)

The Meritocracy Trap (Forthcoming, Penguin Press)



How Much Redistribution Should There Be?, 112 Yale Law Journal 2291 (2003)

Legal Ethics from the Lawyer’s Point of View, 15 Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities 209 (2004)

Contract and Collaboration, 113 Yale Law Journal 1417 (2004)

La Paradoja de la Violencia in LA Violencia:  Seminario en Latinoamerica de Teoria Constitucioinal y Politica 2003 (2004)

The No Retraction Principle and the Morality of Negotiations, 152 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1903 (2004)

Further Thoughts About Legal Ethics from the Lawyer’s Point of View, 16 Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities 85 (2004)

Quarantines and Distributive Justice, 33 Journal of Law Medicine & Ethics 323 (2005)

Democratic Disobedience, 114 Yale Law Journal 1897 (2005)

Adversary Advocacy and the Authority of Adjudication, 75 Fordham L. Rev. 1367 (2006) (symposium on the internal point of view in jurisprudence and legal ethics)

Making and Keeping Contracts, 92 Virginia L. Rev. 1325 (2006) (symposium on contemporary political philosophy and private law)

Three Thoughts Concerning “Just Linkage,” 39 Cornell Int’l L. J 655 (2006) (symposium on Global Justice:  Poverty, Human Rights, and Responsibilities)

Comment:  An Inexorable Trend?, Poder Executivo:  Seminario en Latinoamerica de Teoria Constitucioinal y Politica 2006 (forthcoming 2007)

In Praise of the Supporting Cast, 116 Yale L.J. Pocket Part 272 (2007)

Individual Preferences for Giving (with Raymond Fisman and Shachar Kariv), 97 American Economic Review 1858 (2007)

Luck Egalitarianism and Political Solidarity, 9 Theoretical Inquiries in Law 271 (2008) (symposium issue on Moral and Legal Luck)

The Architecture of Integrity, in Reading Bernard Williams (Routledge) (2009)

Promise as an Arm’s Length Relation, in Promises and Agreements:  Philosophical Essays (Oxford) (2010)

Arbitration's Arbitrage: Social Solidarity at the Nexus of Adjudication and Contract, 59 DePaul L. Rev. 431 (2010) (Clifford Symposium on Social Justice)

How (and How Not) to do Legal Ethics, 23 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 1041 (2010)

Three Issues in Legal Ethics, 60 University of Toronto Law Review ­­­1003 (2010)

Legal Ethics Rebound, 12 Legal Ethics 261 (2010)

Not Morality at All, and Certainly Not Morality as Regulative Ideal, 13 Legal Ethics (2010) (Forum on Philosophical Legal Ethics:  Ethics, Morals, and Jurisprudence from the panel on jurisprudence of legal ethics at the fourth International Legal Ethics Congress)

Book Review of Max Bazerman and Ann Tenbrunsel, Blind Spots:  Why We Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do About It, 69 J. Econ. Lit. 52 (2011)

The Myth of Efficient Breach:  New Defenses of the Expectation Interest, 97 Virginia Law Review 1939 (2011) (with Alan Schwartz)   

The Expectation Remedy and the Promissory Basis of Contract, 45 Suffolk Law Review 799 (2012) (symposium in honor of the 30th anniversary of the publication of Contract as Promise) (with Alan Schwartz)

The Expectation Remedy Revisited, 98 Virginia Law Review 1093 (2012) (with Alan Schwartz)

A Problem Concerning Proportional Representation:  Constitutional Politics and the Crisis of Democratic Legitimacy, EUI Working Paper 2012/55 (2012).

Lawyerly Fidelity in Sanford Levinson, Paul Woodruff, and Joel Parker, eds. LOYALTY:  NOMOS LIV (2012)

What are Lawyers For?, 47 Akron L. Rev. 135 (2014) (keynote speech at Miller-Becker Ethics Symposium), republished in the journal of the German-American Lawyers’ Guild.

Good Faith as Contract’s Core Value in The Philosophical Foundations of Contract Law (OUP 2014).

Sharing Ex Ante and Sharing Ex Post:  The Non-Contractual Basis of Fiduciary Relations in The Philosophical Foundations of Fiduciary Law (OUP 2014)

Authority, Recognition, and the Grounds of Promise, Jurisprudence:  An International Journal of Legal and Political Thought, 6:2, 349-356 (2015) (symposium on David Owens, Shaping the Normative Landscape)

Ökonomische Ungleicheit, Ein Beitrag as den USA, PolarKreis 2014.

Theories of the Common Law of Contract, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The Distributional Preferences of an Elite (with Raymond Fisman and Shachar Kariv), Science, 349, aab0096 (2015). DOI:10.1126/science.aab0096

Contract, forthcoming in Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law

Remembering Mr. Fairman, ­­­77 Ohio State L.J. 513 (2016)

Civility, Rule-Following, and the Authority of Law, Columbia L. Rev. Sidebar (2016)

Good Faith Bargaining in the Shadow of a Form, in A Dyson, J Goudkamp and F Wilmot-Smith (eds), Defences in Contract (Oxford, Hart Publishing 2017)

(In)efficient Breach of Contract in Francesco Parisi, ed., The Oxford Encyclopedia of Law and Economics (with Alan Schwartz) (forthcoming 2017)

Hope and Fear for Democracy in America, 98 B.U. L. Rev. Online 1 (2018) (symposium on Ganesh Sitaraman, The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution)

Plural Values in Contract Law:  Theory and Implementation, ___ Theoretical Inquiries in Law __ (with Alan Schwartz) (Symposium Issue on Hanoch Dagan and Michael Heller, The Choice Theory of Contracts) (forthcoming 2018)

Re-Thinking Remedies in Private Law (with Alan Schwartz) (working paper)

Market Solidarity: Price as Commensuration, Contract as Integration (working paper)

Promise Made Pure (working paper)

A New Theory of the Firm (working paper)