Department of History

Ajay Mehrotra

  • Professor of Law, Maurer School of Law
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of History


  • B.A. at University of Michigan, 1991
  • J.D. at Georgetown University, 1994
  • Ph.D. at University of Chicago, 2003

Contact Information

Law School, Rm. 261
(812) 855-7443


Ajay Mehrotra

As a legal scholar and historian, I am generally interested in the development of American law and political economy during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. More specifically, my research focuses on the changing structure of American public finance at both the national and state level during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. I recently co-edited a collection of essays that analyzes the historical and comparative dimensions of fiscal sociology, The New Fiscal Sociology: Comparative and Historical Approaches to Taxation (New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).  I am currently completing a book entitled Sharing the Burden: Law, Politics and the Making of the Modern American Fiscal State, 1880-1930, which investigates the historical forces that led to the creation of a new fiscal order in the early decades of the twentieth century. I generally teach an interdisciplinary, graduate American legal history seminar, concentrating on the legal foundations of modern American capitalism.

Selected Awards

  • Co-Principal Investigator, Social Science Research Council, Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship Program, 2013
  • Residential Fellow, Indiana University Institute for Advanced Study, Fall 2010
  • Visiting Scholar, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2006-2007
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship, 2006-2007
  • Trustees Teaching Award, Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington, 2004-2005

Research Interests

  • U.S. legal, political, economic history

Courses Recently Taught

Publication Highlights


Sharing the Burden: Law, Politics and the Making of the Modern American Fiscal State, 1880-1930. (forthcoming).

The New Fiscal Sociology: Taxation in Comparative and Historical Perspective (co-edited with Isaac William Martin and Monica Prasad) (New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

Articles and Book Chapters

• “From Seligman to Shoup: The Early Columbia School of Taxation and Development,” in The Political Economy of Transnational Tax Reform: The Shoup Mission to Japan in Historical Context, eds. W. Elliot Brownlee, Yasunori Fukagai & Eisaku Ide (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 45:3 (2011), 593-630.
• “American Economic Development, Managerial Corporate Capitalism, and the Institutional Foundations of the Modern Income Tax,” 73 Law & Contemporary Problems 25-62 (Winter 2010).
• “The Public Control of Corporate Power: Revisiting the 1909 U.S. Corporate Tax from a Comparative Perspective,” 11 Theoretical Inquiries in Law 497-538 (July 2010).
• “The Intellectual Foundations of the Modern American Fiscal State,” Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (Spring 2009), 53-62.

• “Forging Fiscal Reform: Constitutional Change, Public Policy, and the Creation of Administrative Capacity in Wisconsin, 1880-1920” Journal of Policy History 20:1 (Winter 2008), 94-112 (Special issue on “The Constitution and Public Policy in U.S History,” eds. Julian Zelizer and Bruce Schulman).