Professor Paul M. Vaaler is the inaugural holder of the John and Bruce Mooty Chair in Law and Business, a joint faculty appointment of the Law School and Carlson School of Management. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota faculty in 2007, he was on the faculty of the College of Business (and affiliated with the College of Law) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Professor Vaaler has held affiliated faculty appointments at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, where he was the Sanjaya Lall Visiting Professor of Business and Development in 2012 and at the Universities of Pretoria and Limpopo (South Africa) where he was a Fulbright Scholar in 2019-2020.
Professor Vaaler’s research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of business, law, and politics.
He studies how foreign investors manage risks related to policy reforms in developing countries: how foreign investors vary investment during election periods; when foreign investors include host-country governments as co-investors in large projects; how migrants remit money and ideas to fund and found new ventures back home. More recently, he has innovated the concept of “discriminatory product differentiation” –how firms design products appealing to discriminatory customer preferences and owner tastes— and documented broad-sample statistical evidence of this practice by international airlines and airline alliances serving developing countries.
Professor Vaaler earned his B.A. in history from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and his M.A. in philosophy, politics and economics from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. While studying for his J.D. at Harvard Law School, Professor Vaaler clerked at the Freehill Hollingdale & Page law firm in Sydney, Australia, at the Minnesota attorney general’s office in St. Paul, and at the Faegre & Benson law firm (now Faegre Baker Daniels) in Minneapolis. He then practiced at Faegre & Benson prior to returning to graduate school for his Ph.D. in strategic management from the University of Minnesota.
Professor Vaaler is the author, co-author or co-editor of more than 50 books, articles in academic journals and proceedings, book chapters, edited scholarly volumes, and technical reports. His articles have appeared in Academy of Management Journal, Economics Letters, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of International Management, Journal of International Money and Finance, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of World Business, Organization Science, Review of Development Economics, Strategy Science, and Strategic Management Journal, among other academic journals. He serves on the editorial board of Global Strategy Journal, is a senior area editor at the Journal of International Business Policy, a consulting editor at the Journal of World Business, and co-editor of the Social Science Research Network’s electronic journal Global Business Issues.
Professor Vaaler has been a regulator commentator on current business and legal issues for "WCCO News Talk 830 Radio."