Peter Conti-Brown

Peter Conti-Brown
  • Assistant Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3730 Walnut Street
    600 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
    Office 647
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: administrative law, central banking, financial history, financial regulation, fiscal crises, political history, public finance, the Federal Reserve

Links: CV

Overview

Peter Conti-Brown is an assistant professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. A financial historian and a legal scholar, Conti-Brown studies central banking, financial regulation, and public finance, with a particular focus on the history and policies of the US Federal Reserve System. He is author of the book The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve (Princeton University Press 2016), the editor of two other books, and author or co-author of a dozen articles on central banking, financial regulation, and bank corporate governance. He received a law degree from Stanford Law School and a PhD in history from Princeton. He is currently at work on two books, both forthcoming from Harvard University Press. The first is a history of bank supervision in the United States from the Civil War to Donald Trump (co-authored with Sean Vanatta), the second a comprehensive political and institutional history of the US Federal Reserve.

Conti-Brown is married with three children.

Education

PhD, Princeton University (History, subfields in financial and political history)
JD, Stanford Law School
AB, Harvard College (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa)

Academic Positions Held

Academic Fellow, Stanford Law School’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance (2010-2015)
Visiting Fellow, Harvard Law School Program (2014)

Other Positions Held

Of Counsel, Gupta Wessler PLLC (2013-2016)
Law clerk, Hon. Stephen F. Williams, US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit (2012-2013)
Law clerk, Hon. Gerard E. Lynch, US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (2011-2012)
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Research

Teaching

Past Courses

  • LGST101 - LAW AND SOCIAL VALUES

    This course presents law as an evolving social institution, with special emphasis on the legal regulation of business in the context of social values. It considers basic concepts of law and legal process, in the U.S. and other legal systems, and introduces the fundamentals of rigorous legal analysis. An in-depth examination of contract law is included.

  • LGST223 - SECURITIES REGULATION

    The course examines the federal securities laws and the operation of the Securities Exchange Commission. The legal responsibilities of corporate managers, accountants, underwriters, and broker-dealers, occasioned by the securities regulatory scheme, will be investigated. Students will be encouraged to evaluate, from a managerial perspective, the various aspects of securities regulation studied. The course will discuss the recent financial crisis and ask the question whether enhanced securities regulation will prevent such a crisis in the future. The material covered in the course will provide familiarity with the basic legal structure of securities regulation and will assist in understanding the current policy issues in securities law. The course should help students to develop the ability to read and learn further in the field and to improve their effectiveness of communication with attorneys. It will also suggest ways of detecting instances in which an attorney should be consulted. The course is particularly useful for those students pursuing careers in corporate finance, investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, sales and trading, venture capital, private equity, entrepreneurship, accounting, corporate management, and real estate.

  • LGST243 - OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY

    We learn in introductory economics courses that money is fungible: that is, one dollar is as good as the next. Indeed, using money as a "medium of exchange" is one of its defining characteristics. But what happens when we take a big pile of money and put it in different buckets. On one bucket we might write "hedge fund"; on another, "central bank"; on still another, "payday lender." Then money starts to change in ways defined by law, history, ethics, and politics. This course will take you on a tour of these different buckets--different kinds of financial institutions, broadly defined--throughout the modern financial system. We will look at hedge funds, insurance companies, investment banks, sovereign wealth funds, central banks, consumer banks, payday lenders, state-sponsored enterprises (like the Export-Import Bank in the United States and much of the financial system in China), and the cutting edge of fintech, including crowd-funded lending, digital currencies, and more. In each case, students will be exposed to a series of specialized questions: Where did this institution come from? What problem is it trying to solve that other alternatives could not resolve? What is the basic business (or, where relevant, regulatory) model for each institution? How is each institution regulated, and by whom? What are the ethical considerations in each context? What are the political considerations that each market participant faces?

  • LGST299 - SEMINAR IN LAW & SOCIETY

    A study of the nature, functions, and limits of law as an agency of societal policy. Each semester an area of substantive law is studied for the purpose of examining the relationship between legal norms developed and developing in the area and societal problems and needs.

  • LGST612 - RESPONSIBILITY IN BUS.

    This course introduces students to important ethical and legal challenges they will face as leaders in business. The course materials will be useful to students preparing for managerial positions that are likely to place them in advisory and/or agency roles owing duties to employers, clients, suppliers, and customers. Although coverage will vary depending on instructor, the focus of the course will be on developing skills in ethical and legal analyses that can assist managers as they make both individual-level and firm-level decisions about the responsible courses of action when duties, loyalties, rules, norms, and interests are in conflict. For example, the rules of insider trading may form the basis for lessons in some sections. Group assignments, role-plays, and case studies may, at the instructor's discretion, be used to help illustrate the basic theoretical frameworks. Course materials will highlight industry codes and professional norms, as well as the importance of personal and/or religious values. Format: class participation, quiz, group report, and final paper or exam. Materials: coursepack. Prerequisites: none.

  • LGST643 - OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY

    We learn in introductory economics courses that money is fungible: that is, one dollar is as good as the next. Indeed, using money as a "medium of exchange" is one of its defining characteristics. But what happens when we take a big pile of money and put it in different buckets. On one bucket we might write "hedge fund"; on another, "central bank"; on still another, "payday lender." Then money starts to change in ways defined by law, history, ethics, and politics. This course will take you on a tour of these different buckets--different kinds of financial institutions, broadly defined--throughout the modern financial system. We will look at hedge funds, insurance companies, investment banks, sovereign wealth funds, central banks, consumer banks, payday lenders, state-sponsored enterprises (like the Export-Import Bank in the United States and much of the financial system in China), and the cutting edge of fintech, including crowd-funded lending, digital currencies, and more. In each case, students will be exposed to a series of specialized questions: Where did this institution come from? What problem is it trying to solve that other alternatives could not resolve? What is the basic business (or, where relevant, regulatory) model for each institution? How is each institution regulated, and by whom? What are the ethical considerations in each context? What are the political considerations that each market participant faces?

  • LGST807 - SECURITIES REG

    The course examines the federal securities law and the operation of the Securities Exchange Commission. The legal responsibilities of corporate managers, accountants, underwriters, and broker-dealers, occasioned by the securities regulatory scheme, will be investigated. Students will be encouraged to evaluate, from a managerial perspective, the various aspects of securities regulation studied. The course will discuss the recent financial crisis and ask the question whether enhanced securities regulation will prevent such a crisis in the future. The material covered in the course will provide familiarity with the basic legal structure of securities regulation and will assist in understanding the current policy issues in securities law. The course should help students to develop the ability to read and learn further in the field and to improve their effectiveness of communication with attorneys. It will also suggest ways of detecting instances in which an attorney should be consulted. The course is particularly useful for those students pursuing careers in corporate finance, investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, sales and trading, venture capital, private equity, entrepreneurship, accounting, corporate management and real estate. Requirements: Midterm and final exam. Materials: Text, pamphlet of statutes and rules, and study guide.

  • LGST813 - LEG ASP ENTREPRENRSHP

    Legal and Transactional Aspects of Entrepreneurship is a practical and intensive course that examines the critical legal and transactional issues confronting start-up and emerging growth companies. Although the context of the course is early stage companies, many of the concepts studied are equally applicable to more mature, established companies. The course provides perspective on how to use the law strategically to manage risk, deploy resources and maximize shareholder value. Topics include the enforceability of confidentiality, non-competition and other restrictive covenants in employment agreements; choice of business form including the legal, financial and tax advantages and disadvantages of general partnerships, limited partnerships, corporations and limited liability companies; tax and securities law; legal aspects of raising capital including structuring venture capital and private equity financing; entrepreneurial acquisition structures, employment law, and intellectual property law including trade secrets, copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Format: Lecture and discussion with coverage of legal cases and materials. Requirements: Class participation, midterm and final exam. Materials: Course pack.

Awards and Honors

  • Wharton Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2017
  • Stephen M. Kellen Term Member, Council on Foreign Relations, 2015-2020
  • John R. Irwin Fellowship, Princeton University, Department of History, 2014-2015
  • Junior Faculty Scholarship Prize, GW Law School Center for Law, Economics, and Finance, 2013

In the News

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Activity

In the News

How the Great Recession Changed American Workers

The global financial crisis exacerbated long-term trends including rising student debt and stagnant wages, and left the public with a sense that the system is broken.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 2018/09/10
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Awards and Honors

Wharton Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching 2017
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