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A Mathematical Approach to the Study of the United States Code

Michael James Bommarito II

Bommarito Consulting, LLC

Daniel Martin Katz

Michigan State University - College of Law

March 25, 2010

Physica A, Vol. 389, 2010

The United States Code (Code) is a document containing over 22 million words that represents a large and important source of Federal statutory law. Scholars and policy advocates often discuss the direction and magnitude of changes in various aspects of the Code. However, few have mathematically formalized the notions behind these discussions or directly measured the resulting representations. This paper addresses the current state of the literature in two ways. First, we formalize a representation of the United States Code as the union of a hierarchical network and a citation network over vertices containing the language of the Code. This representation reflects the fact that the Code is a hierarchically organized document containing language and explicit citations between provisions. Second, we use this formalization to measure aspects of the Code as codified in October 2008, November 2009, and March 2010. These measurements allow for a characterization of the actual changes in the Code over time. Our findings indicate that in the recent past, the Code has grown in its amount of structure, interdependence and language.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 6

Keywords: United States Code, Hierarchical Network, Citation Network, Computational Linguistics, Information Retrieval, Computational Legal Studies, Physics and Society

JEL Classification: C63, C19, D72, D78, H10, H11, H50, K00, K20, L50

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Date posted: March 29, 2010 ; Last revised: August 2, 2012

Suggested Citation

Bommarito, Michael James and Katz, Daniel Martin, A Mathematical Approach to the Study of the United States Code (March 25, 2010). Physica A, Vol. 389, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1578094

Contact Information

Michael James Bommarito II
Bommarito Consulting, LLC ( email )
Troy, MI 48098
United States
16464503387 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://bommaritollc.com/
Daniel Martin Katz (Contact Author)
Michigan State University - College of Law ( email )
230F Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States
HOME PAGE: http://computationallegalstudies.com/
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