Measuring the Immeasurable: How to Turn Law into Numbers
Mathias M. Siems
Durham University - Durham Law School; University of Cambridge - Centre for Business Research
October 7, 2011
DOES LAW MATTER? ON LAW AND ECONOMIC GROWTH, p. 115, Michael Faure and Jan Smits, eds., Intersentia, 2011
When economists try to measure legal rules and institutions their approach is often a “just do it” one, implicitly assuming that the complexity of the law does not prevent it from being turned into numbers. Many legal academics, by contrast, have the attitude of “just don’t do it,” for instance, bluntly saying that “law is about things that are not quantifiable.” The purpose of this paper is to explain and discuss the different ways how law can be measured. More briefly it will also be addressed how, in a second step, these numbers can be used to show causal relationships. This second step can be very contentious and complicated; yet, the core interest of this paper is on the preliminary question on how quantitative data on law can be found or constructed. This paper does not attempt a comprehensive review of the literature on quantitative research in law but it will provide representative examples, mainly focusing on comparative legal studies.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: quantitative legal research, empirical legal research, leximetrics, law and finance, legal indicators, Doing Business Report, Governance Indicators
JEL Classification: C00, K00, K20, K42Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 8, 2011 ; Last revised: October 27, 2011
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