Building Knowledge

Professors Wei Cui, Debra Parkes and Benjamin Perrin have each been awarded SSHRC IInsight Grant for major new research projects spanning governance and tax compliance, social media crime, and the legal and lived dimensions of life sentences.

Here’s a brief description of these three ambitious research initiatives:

Wei Cui’s project investigates a phenomenon that has long fascinated social scientists and legal theorists, and that lies at the heart of understanding law as a distinctive form of social order: namely, the transition from a governance regime based on state coercion to one based on voluntary compliance with legal rules. The project studies a contemporary instantiation of the phenomenon in a recent series of large-scale tax administration reforms in one Chinese province, aimed at "returning responsibilities to taxpayers.” Wei's project analyzes these reforms using confidential taxpayer datasets as well as tax agencies' own performance measurements. 

Debra Parkes, together with co-investigators Isabel Grant (Allard School of Law) and Kelly-Hannah-Moffatt (University of Toronto), has been awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant to study the law, policy, and lived experience of life sentences in Canada. The research team will examine the legislative history and judicial interpretation of Canada’s murder sentencing regime which carries a mandatory life sentence and mandatory periods of parole ineligibility, documenting changes to the regime over the past 40 years. They will also access official data and conduct interviews with people serving life sentences to provide a clearer picture of the nature and impact of these sentences in relation to their policy goals.
Benjamin Perrin’s project will investigate how criminal law and the criminal justice system are responding to crimes committed on, or facilitated by, social media networks. It will also make law and policy recommendations to address shortcomings. Sexual offences, threats, and criminal harassment will be the main focus of this study that will involve both traditional legal research and empirical research involving interviews with experts from law enforcement and victim services, social media network providers, scholars, as well as victims and their families.