A Mathematical Approach to the Study of the United States Code
Physica A, Vol. 389, 2010
6 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2010 Last revised: 2 Aug 2012
Date Written: March 25, 2010
The United States Code (Code) is a document containing over 22 million words that represents a large and important source of Federal statutory law. Scholars and policy advocates often discuss the direction and magnitude of changes in various aspects of the Code. However, few have mathematically formalized the notions behind these discussions or directly measured the resulting representations. This paper addresses the current state of the literature in two ways. First, we formalize a representation of the United States Code as the union of a hierarchical network and a citation network over vertices containing the language of the Code. This representation reﬂects the fact that the Code is a hierarchically organized document containing language and explicit citations between provisions. Second, we use this formalization to measure aspects of the Code as codiﬁed in October 2008, November 2009, and March 2010. These measurements allow for a characterization of the actual changes in the Code over time. Our ﬁndings indicate that in the recent past, the Code has grown in its amount of structure, interdependence and language.
Keywords: United States Code, Hierarchical Network, Citation Network, Computational Linguistics, Information Retrieval, Computational Legal Studies, Physics and Society
JEL Classification: C63, C19, D72, D78, H10, H11, H50, K00, K20, L50
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation