Faculty & Research

Dale B. Thompson

Associate Professor : Ethics and Business Law Department

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Dale Thompson provides an integrative approach between business and law. With a Ph.D. in economics and a J.D. (both from Stanford), he understands both the competitive pressures facing business and industry, and the constraints and opportunities presented by the legal environment of business. In his courses, students learn to conduct step-by-step analysis of legal disputes encountered by actual businesses, and develop an understanding and appreciation of the connections between legal principles and management of their businesses.

In his research, Thompson examines the use of governmental regulations and economic incentives to achieve policy objectives. This research includes an investigation of the appropriate scale of regulation, under the principles of federalism. He has applied his approach to such diverse subjects as environmental policies, health care, financial markets, telecommunications and immigration. His research has been published in top legal journals, including the San Diego Law Review, Akron Law Review, Buffalo Law Review, Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, Environmental Law and the William & Mary Policy Review.

In addition to his teaching and research, Thompson plays an active role in serving the University of St. Thomas community, his local community (through both his church and as a volunteer soccer and baseball coach) and the broader academy (as an officer in the Midwest Academy of Legal Studies in Business).


Academic Background

B.A., economics, Williams College
M.A., economics, Stanford University
Ph.D., economics, Stanford University
J.D., Stanford Law School

Research Specialties

  • Environmental policy and law
  • Federalism
  • Health care policy
  • Financial market regulation 

Current Research

  • Federalism & financial markets
  •  Automobile industry 

Major Works

  • "Unmistakably Clear Coercion: Finding a Balance between Judicial Review of the Spending Power and Optimal Federalism," San Diego Law Review, forthcoming.
  • "Of Rainbows and Rivers: Lessons for Telecommunications Spectrum Policy from Transitions in Property Rights and Commons in Water Law," Buffalo Law Review 54 (2006): 157.
  • "Valuing the Environment: Courts' Struggles with Natural Resource Damages," Environmental Law 32 (2002): 57.
  • Book Review of "Global Emissions Trading: Key Issues for Industrialized Countries," Natural Resources Journal 41 (2001): 755.
  • "Political Obstacles to the Implementation of Emissions Markets: Lessons from RECLAIM," Natural Resources Journal 40 (2000): 645.
  • "Beyond Benefit-Cost Analysis: Institutional Transaction Costs and the Regulation of Water Quality," Natural Resources Journal 39 (1999): 517.
  • "Immigration Policy through the Lens of Optimal Federalism," William & Mary Policy Review 2 (2011): 236.
  • "The Next Stage of Health Care Reform: Controlling Costs by Paying Health Plans Based on Health Outcomes," Akron Law Review 44:3 (2011): 727-768.
  • "Why We Need a Superfund for Hedge Funds," Mississippi Law Journal 79 (2010): 995. 
  • "Optimal Federalism across Institutions: Theory and Applications from Environmental Policies and Health Care," Loyola University Chicago Law Journal 40 (2009): 2009.