Empirical Legal Research in Europe: Prevalence, Obstacles and Interventions
34 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2018
Date Written: November 19, 2018
Empirical legal research (ELR) has become well established in the United States, whereas its popularity in Europe is debatable. This article explores the popularity of ELR in Europe. The authors carried out an empirical analysis of 78 European-based law journals, encompassing issues from 2008 to 2017. The findings demonstrate that a supposed increase of ELR is questionable (at best). Moreover, additional findings highlight:
• An increase for a few journals, with a small number of other journals showing a decrease over time;
• A higher percentage of empirical articles for extra-legal journals than for legal journals (average proportion per journal is 4.6% for legal journals, 18.9% for extra-legal journals);
• Criminal justice journals, environmental journals, and economically oriented journals being more likely to publish empirical articles than other journals;
• More prestigious journals are more likely to publish empirical articles than less-prestigious journals;
• Older journals are more likely to publish empirical work than younger journals, but not at an increasing rate;
• Considerations such as a journal being legal or extra-legal, covering a specific field, journal ranking, or age of the journal do not make it more (or less) likely that the journal will publish empirical articles at an increasing (or decreasing) rate.
Considering the lack of convincing evidence indicating an increase of ELR, we identify reasons for why ELR is seemingly becoming more popular but not resulting in more empirical research in Europe. Additionally, we explore interventions for overcoming the obstacles ELR currently faces.
Keywords: empirical legal research, ELS, Europe, popularity, journals
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K20, K30, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation