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Large Sample, Quantitative Research Designs for Comparative Law?

15 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2009 Last revised: 10 Feb 2010

Holger Spamann

Harvard Law School


A substantial body of comparative legal scholarship considers statements applicable to large, conceptually infinite numbers of countries. Such statements gain in credibility if they are supported by evidence from large samples of countries. Processing such vast evidence requires quantitative methods. Designing the requisite numerical measures of law is not straightforward, but an important insight from statistics suggests that this problem can be overcome by appropriate research design. While in practice considering more countries comes at the expense of less information per country, on balance large sample, quantitative research designs promise to yield interesting insights for comparative law.

Keywords: comparative law, large-N studies, quantitative methods, statistics, econometrics, Doing Business, legal origins

JEL Classification: B40, K00, P50

Suggested Citation

Spamann, Holger, Large Sample, Quantitative Research Designs for Comparative Law?. Harvard Law and Economics Discussion Paper No. 32; American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 57, No. 4, pp. 797-810, Fall 2009; Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 09-50. Available at SSRN:

Holger Spamann (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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