The Strategy of Methodology: The Virtues of Being Reductionist for Comparative Law

University of Toronto Law Journal, Vol. 59, p. 223, 2009

USC CLEO Research Paper No. C09-14

USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 09-27

12 Pages Posted: 28 May 2009 Last revised: 12 Nov 2013

See all articles by Gillian K. Hadfield

Gillian K. Hadfield

University of Toronto; Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence; OpenAI; Center for Human-Compatible AI

Abstract

This is a pre-publication draft of a response to three comments on my paper entitled “Levers of Legal Design: Institutional Determinants of the Quality of Law” 36 Journal of Comparative Economics 43. The Comments, prepared by Ralf Michaels, John Reitz and Pierre Legrand, together with an Introduction by Catherine Valcke, appeared together with this reply in the inaugural Focus Feature of the University of Toronto Law Journal in April 2009. The reply responds to the concerns raised, in different ways, by comparative law scholars about the use of simplified modeling techniques to analyze the nature and impact of law in different countries. I explore the tension between the need for 'thick description' of legal regimes and respect for legal regimes on their own terms and the insights that can be generated through the abstraction inherent in analytical methods like economics.

Suggested Citation

Hadfield, Gillian K., The Strategy of Methodology: The Virtues of Being Reductionist for Comparative Law. University of Toronto Law Journal, Vol. 59, p. 223, 2009; USC CLEO Research Paper No. C09-14; USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 09-27. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1410901

Gillian K. Hadfield (Contact Author)

University of Toronto ( email )

78 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
4169784214 (Phone)

Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence ( email )

OpenAI ( email )

Center for Human-Compatible AI ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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