Empirical Research Strategies

Social science researchers, and especially economists, had brought the theoretical tools of economics to bear on legal scholarship as early as the 1960s. However, the consistent use of sophisticated empirical tools to study law lagged behind economics scholarship by decades. No doubt, part of this failing owes to the fact that early law and economics scholars were more interested in theoretical and institutional issues than in designing powerful econometric tests.

Econometrics and Law

Compounding this idiosyncratic bias in favor of theory, the expense of computing resources and a dearth of useful datasets limited the widespread use of econometric methods to examine the effects of law on the behavior of individuals. However, as personal computers allow scholars to collect and examine larger datasets at relatively low expense, and ...

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