Reproduction of Hierarchy? A Social Network Analysis of the American Law Professoriate
Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 61, No. 1, August 2011
28 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2009 Last revised: 26 May 2011
Date Written: March 3, 2009
As its structure offers one causal mechanism for the emergence of and convergence upon a collective conception of what constitutes a sound legal rule, we believe the social structure of the American law professoriate is an important piece of a broader model of American common law development. Leveraging advances in network science and drawing from available information on the more 7,200 tenure-track professor employed by an ABA accredited institution, we explore the topology of the legal academy including the relative distribution of authority among its institutions. Drawing from social epidemiology literature, we provide a computational model for diffusion on our network. The model provides a parsimonious display of the trade off between "idea infectiousness" and structural position. While our model is undoubtedly simple, our initial foray into computational legal studies should, at a minimum, motivate future scholarship.
Keywords: Social Network Analysis, American Common Law, Complexity, Public Law, Sociology of Law, Power Law, Peer Effects, Doctrinal Phase Transition, Legal Academy, Organizational Studies, Computational Legal Studies, Law as a Complex System
JEL Classification: C63, D70, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation