Prof. Trebilcock, GPLLM Program Advisor, awarded prestigious Donner Prize for his book: "Dealing with Losers: The Political Economy of Policy Transitions"

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

University Professor and GPLLM Program Advisor Michael Trebilcock, Chair in Law and Economics at the Faculty of Law, is the 2015 Donner Prize winner for the best public policy book written by a Canadian, Dealing with Losers: The Political Economy of Policy Transitions (Oxford University Press).

The prestigious $50,000 prize was announced last night by Donner Canadian Foundation chair, Allan Gotlieb, at a gala dinner in Toronto.

"Michael is a superstar in law and economics," said Dean Ed Iacobucci. "His contributions to legal academia, to public policy, and to the interface between the two are immeasurable. The Faculty could not be prouder of this wonderful recognition of his latest work. We are so fortunate to have him as part of our community!"

Trebilcock's book looks at the "usual losers" in a governmental policy change, "people or groups who relied upon, and were invested in, physical, financial or human capital predicated on the pre-reform policies." These losses require mitigation during a transition phase. Dealing With Losers addresses an issue pervasive across the policy landscape—when and how to mitigate the costs that arise with policy changes.

Donner Prize jurists noted: “Dealing With Losers explores both the necessity for, and the complexity of, transition cost mitigation strategies in a number of concrete public policy contexts. Michael Trebilcock's book is one that every elected and unelected official, at whatever level of government, should read and take to heart."

Trebilcock was selected from among four finalists, shortlisted from 80 submissions. University of Toronto philosophy professor, Joseph Heath, author of Enlightenment 2.0: Restoring Sanity to Our Politics, Our Economy, and Our Lives (Harper Collins) was also shortlisted.

Trebilcock is an internationally renowned, award-winning and innovative scholar of law and economics, international trade law, competition law, economic and social regulation, and contract law and theory.

He joined the Faculty of Law in 1972, and was named a University Professor in 1990, a title bestowed by the University of Toronto to recognize exceptional accomplishment and pre-eminence in a particular field of knowledge. He was a Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School in 1985 and 2005, and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School 2011-2012.

Trebilcock received the Ontario Attorney General's Mundell Medal in 2007, for his outstanding and distinguished contributions to the law and letters.In 2010, he was the recipient of the Ontario Premier's Discovery Award for the Social Sciences. He was previously nominated for the 2005 Donner Prize for Rethinking the Welfare State: The Prospects for Government by Voucher, with co-author and former law dean, Ronald J. Daniels, now president at John Hopkins University.

Book cover: Dealing with Losers by Michael TrebilcockThe other Donner Prize finalists included: Réinventer le Québec: Douze chantiers à entreprendre by Marcel Boyer and Nathalie Elgrably-Lévy (Éditions Stanké), and Brave New Canada: Meeting the Challenge of a Changing World by Derek H. Burney and Fen Osler Hampson (McGill-Queen's University Press).

"The four finalists dealt with diverse subjects, all of which have serious, and immediate, implications for thoughtful public policy formulation and implementation,” said Anne McLellan, jury chair, in a media release. “In choosing our shortlist we consider the importance of the subject, the soundness and originality of the analysis, the presentation of evidence, the support for the conclusions reached and the accessibility of the text.”

The Donner Prize was founded in 1998 as an annual award to recognize excellence and innovation in Canadian public policy thinking, writing and research. The Donner Canadian Foundation aims “to broaden policy debates, increase general awareness of the importance of policy decision making and make an original and meaningful contribution to policy discourse.”