Does Empirical Legal Studies Shed More Heat than Light? The Case of Civil Damage Awards

16 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2016

Date Written: December 2016

Abstract

Empirical investigation of legal systems is emerging as a leading trend in both the social sciences and the legal academy in the early twenty‐first century. Law reviews are now filled with studies reporting empirical data. Because empirical investigation of law commonly seeks to inform contentious social and political debates, however, its research often fuels more debate than it resolves. Partisans on both sides of contentious issues now cite the same body of research to support their reform efforts. However, social science research on law is not a useless undertaking, as it can sharpen debate. But the hope that the new empirical legal studies movement will become a neutral source of information for policy makers is unlikely to be realized.

Suggested Citation

Rachlinski, Jeffrey John, Does Empirical Legal Studies Shed More Heat than Light? The Case of Civil Damage Awards (December 2016). Ratio Juris, Vol. 29, Issue 4, pp. 556-571, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2872460 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/raju.12072

Jeffrey John Rachlinski (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-5878 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)

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