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Ajay K. Mehrotra

Ajay K. Mehrotra headshot

ABF Director and Research Professor

Joint appointment

Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law

Education

B.A., University of Michigan J.D., Georgetown University Ph.D., University of Chicago

Curriculum vitae

Bio

Ajay K. Mehrotra is the Executive Director of the American Bar Foundation. He is also a Research Professor at the ABF, a Professor of Law at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law, and an Affiliated Professor of History at Northwestern University. Mehrotra's scholarship and teaching focus on legal history and tax law. More generally, his research explores law and political…

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Research focus

Tax law and policy; legal history; the relationship between taxation and state formation in historical and comparative contexts


Projects

The VAT Laggard: A Comparative History of U.S. Resistance to the Value-added Tax

This project explores how and why the United States has historically rejected national consumption taxes. Nearly all developed countries, and many in the developing world, have some type of a…

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Publications

“The Myth of the ‘Overtaxed’ American and the VAT That Never Was,” (forthcoming 2018).
Modern American History
“‘Who Speaks for Tax Equity and Tax Fairness?’ The Emergence of the Organized Tax Bar and the Dilemmas of Professional Responsibility,” (with Joseph J. Thorndike) __ ___ (forthcoming 2018).
Law & Contemporary Problems
“Fiscal Forearms: Taxation as the Lifeblood of the Modern Liberal State,” in The Many Hands of the State: Theorizing the Complexities of Political Authority and Social Control, Kimberly Morgan and Ann Orloff (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017).
The Many Hands of the State: Theorizing the Complexities of Political Authority and Social Control,

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Presentations

“Economic Expertise, Democratic Constraints, and the Historical Irony of U.S. Tax Policy: Thomas S. Adams and the Beginnings of the Value-Added Tax,”
Apr 2018
"The VAT Laggards: A Comparative History of Japanese and U.S. Resistance to the Value-added Tax,”
Jun 2017
“A Brief History of U.S. Income Tax Withholding: From Contested Concept to Cornerstone of Administrative Practice,” UCLA Law School, Public Finance Colloquium, Los Angeles, CA March 2016
Mar 2016

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Professional Service & Recognition

  • Distinguished Lecturer, Organization of American Historian Distinguished Lecturer Program, 2015-2018
  • Recipient, 2014 Society for U.S. Intellectual History Annual Book Award (for Making the Modern American Fiscal State)
  • Co-Principal Investigator (with H. Timothy Lovelace), American Society for Legal History Grant (to fund Junior Scholars’ Conference on “Globalization and the Law in Historical Perspective” at Indiana University, Bloomington), 2014-15
  • Co-Field Director (with Isaac Martin), Social Science Research Council, Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship Program, 2013
  • Academic Leadership Program Fellow, Committee on Institutional Cooperation, 2012-13
  • Leon E. Wallace Teaching Award, Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington, 2010
  • Co-Principal Investigator (with Michael Grossberg), Indiana University New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Research Grant, 2008-9 (for year long colloquium on “New Directions in Law & Society Scholarship”)
  • Co-Principal Investigator (with Isaac Martin), American Sociological Association/National Science Foundation Grant for the Advancement of the Discipline, 2006-7
  • Post-doctoral Visiting Scholar Fellowship, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2006-2007
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship, 2006-2007 (designated special recognition as part of the NEH’s “We the People Project”)

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