Social Science in Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes: A Reply to the ASA’s Missed Opportunity to Promote Sound Science in Court by Mitchell, Monahan, and Walker

20 Pages Posted: 18 May 2011  

Laura Beth Nielsen

American Bar Foundation; Northwestern University - Department of Sociology

Amy Myrick

Northwestern University - Department of Sociology; Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law; American Bar Foundation

Jill D. Weinberg

DePaul University; American Bar Foundation

Date Written: May 17, 2011

Abstract

In a paper recently posted on SSRN entitled 'The ASA’s Missed Opportunity to Promote Sound Science in Court,' the authors criticize the Amicus Brief filed by the American Sociological Association (ASA) and the Law and Society Association (LSA) in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Betty Dukes, et al. a case that currently is before the Supreme Court of the United States. The authors of Missed Opportunity make a variety of claims about Professor Bielby’s research, the ASA’s treatment of it, and the position of the ASA regarding social science evidence in court. This essay focuses on two kinds of claims made by the authors of Missed Opportunity. The first claims we address are about the ASA’s characterization of and Professor Bielby’s use of sources. In particular, Missed Opportunity questions Professor Bielby’s methodological sources, how he represented the state of the field of workplace inequality, and whether court documents are a reliable source of data for expert analysis. The second, and perhaps more significant, claims made in Missed Opportunity are around the disciplinary standards for data analysis, replicability, and causal claims.

Keywords: social science, sociology, litigation, employment, social framework analysis, Wal-Mart, discrimination

Suggested Citation

Nielsen, Laura Beth and Myrick, Amy and Weinberg, Jill D., Social Science in Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes: A Reply to the ASA’s Missed Opportunity to Promote Sound Science in Court by Mitchell, Monahan, and Walker (May 17, 2011). American Bar Foundation Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1844550 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1844550

Laura Beth Nielsen (Contact Author)

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-988-6574 (Phone)
312-988-6579 (Fax)

Northwestern University - Department of Sociology ( email )

1810 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Amy Myrick

Northwestern University - Department of Sociology ( email )

1810 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Jill D. Weinberg

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

DePaul University ( email )

United States

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