Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2348654
 


 



Law and History by Numbers: Use, But with Care


Brian R. Cheffins


University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Steven A. Bank


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Harwell Wells


Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

October 28, 2013

ECGI - Law Working Paper No. 230/2013
University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 50/2013
UCLA School of Law, Law-Econ Research Paper 13-21
Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-47

Abstract:     
This paper, prepared for a University of Illinois College of Law symposium honoring Prof. Larry Ribstein, deals with the historical development of corporate law in the United States, focusing on the promise and perils of quantification. The paper is part of a larger project where we have already deployed the “anti-director rights index” (ADRI), a well-known mechanism for quantifying the protection various nations’ corporate laws offer investors, to “score” Delaware corporate law from the turn of the 20th century to the present day (http://ssrn.com/abstract=2079505). We are currently expanding our research by investigating two additional bodies of corporate law (Illinois and the Model Business Corporations Act) and by taking into account as a second measure of corporate law an “anti-self-dealing index” (ASDI) that focuses on regulation of transactions between a company and those who control it. We identify in this paper various reasons for undertaking a quantitative, historically-oriented analysis of U.S. corporate law. The paper focuses primarily, however, on the logistical challenges associated with such an inquiry. We indicate that it is impossible to code U.S. corporate law historically with clinical precision but nevertheless conclude that the quantification exercise in which we are currently engaging should provide sufficient insights to be worthwhile.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 43

Keywords: Corporate law, corporate governance, law and finance, empirical legal scholarship, leximetrics, anti-director rights index, anti-self-dealing index, competitive federalism

JEL Classification: G38, K22, N21, N22

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Date posted: November 3, 2013 ; Last revised: December 13, 2013

Suggested Citation

Cheffins, Brian R. and Bank, Steven A. and Wells, Harwell, Law and History by Numbers: Use, But with Care (October 28, 2013). ECGI - Law Working Paper No. 230/2013; University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 50/2013; UCLA School of Law, Law-Econ Research Paper 13-21; Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-47. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2348654 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2348654

Contact Information

Brian R. Cheffins (Contact Author)
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )
10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom
+44 1223 330084 (Phone)
+44 1223 330055 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium
Steven A. Bank
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )
385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
310-794-7601 (Phone)
Harwell Wells
Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )
1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-1183 (Phone)
215-204-1185 (Fax)
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