Miller Center

Ajay Mehrotra

History, University of Chicago

Creating the Modern American Fiscal State: The Political Economy of U.S. Tax Policy, 1880–1930

Mehrotra photo

Ajay Mehrotra is director of the American Bar Foundation

Ajay K. Mehrotra is currently director of the American Bar Foundation.  He is a legal scholar whose research focuses on the history of American law and political economy, and the relationship between taxation and state formation in historical and comparative contexts.  

Prior to his ABF Directorship, Ajay Mehrotra was Professor of Law and Louis F. Niezer Faculty Fellow at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. From 2012-2015, he also served as the school's associate dean for research. He was also an adjunct Professor of History at Indiana University and an Affiliated Faculty member of the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop on Political Theory and Policy Analysis.  From 2007-2011, he was Co-director (with Michael Grossberg) of the Indiana University Center for Law, Society & Culture.  Mehrotra was previously a Doctoral Fellow at the American Bar Foundation while completing his Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago. He received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan. After law school and prior to his graduate training in history, Mehrotra was an associate in the Structured Finance Department in the New York offices of J.P. Morgan.

Mehrotra's writings have appeared in student-edited law reviews and interdisciplinary journals including Law & Social Inquiry, Law & History Review, and Law & Society Review.  His scholarship and teaching have been supported by grants and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council.

Fellowship year: 2002

Mentor: Elliot Brownlee, University of California, Santa Barbara

Selected Recent Publications

Making the Modern American Fiscal State: Law, Politics, and the Rise of Progressive Taxation, 1877-1929 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

"Charles A. Beard and the Columbia School of Political Economy: Revisiting the Intellectual Roots of the Beardian Thesis." Articles by Maurer Faculty, Paper 1311 (2014)

From Seligman to Shoup: The Early Columbia School of Taxation and Development.” in W. Elliot Brownlee, Yasunori Fukagai & Eisaku Ide, eds., The Political Economy of Transnational Tax Reform: The Shoup Mission to Japan in Historical Context (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
From Programmatic Reform to Social Science Research: The National Tax Association and the Promise and Perils of Disciplinary Encounters.” with J. Thorndike, Law & Society Review 45, no. 3 (2011): 593-630.

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