An Empirical Survey of the Population of United States Tax Court Written Decisions
36 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2009 Last revised: 21 Mar 2011
Date Written: March 20, 2011
What can empirical data tell us about the jurisprudence of United States Tax Court? Which sections of the Internal Revenue Code are most frequently cited and has recent tax legislation sparked change in the Tax Court’s decisions? This article presents an analysis of the citation practices of the United States Tax Court between 1990 and 2008. While previous citation studies focus on case-to-case citations, we modify this approach to focus on statutory citations, which better capture the nature of tax jurisprudence. By applying techniques from computer science, we collect and analyze more than 11,000 decisions and 244,000 statutory citations authored by the United States Tax Court between 1990 and 2008. Our approach includes both a static and longitudinal analysis of the most cited Internal Revenue Code sections. In addition, we carry out a network analysis of these case-to-statute citations to uncover patterns in citation practices, concept relationships, and legislative acts. This article answers the call for greater empiricism in tax scholarship and paves the way for future research on Tax Court jurisprudence.
Keywords: Empirical Legal Studies, United States Tax Court, Judicial Decision Making, Computational Legal Studies, Network Analysis and Law, Network Dynamics, Text Parsing of Legal Documents, Information Visualization, Citation Network, Tax Litigation
JEL Classification: C63, C80, C81, D78, D72, H11, K34, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation