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
Date Written: May 17, 2011
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
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