Complex Societies and the Growth of the Law

50 Pages Posted: 29 May 2020 Last revised: 11 Aug 2020

See all articles by Daniel Martin Katz

Daniel Martin Katz

Illinois Tech - Chicago Kent College of Law; Stanford CodeX - The Center for Legal Informatics

Corinna Coupette

Max Planck Institute for Informatics; Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

Janis Beckedorf

Heidelberg University - Faculty of Law

Dirk Hartung

Bucerius Law School - Center for Legal Technology and Data Science

Date Written: May 15, 2020

Abstract

While a large number of informal factors influence how people interact, modern societies rely upon law as a primary mechanism to formally control human behaviour. How legal rules impact societal development depends on the interplay between two types of actors: the people who create the rules and the people to which the rules potentially apply. We hypothesise that an increasingly diverse and interconnected society might create increasingly diverse and interconnected rules, and assert that legal networks provide a useful lens through which to observe the interaction between law and society. To evaluate these propositions, we present a novel and generalizable model of statutory materials as multidimensional, time-evolving document networks. Applying this model to the federal legislation of the United States and Germany, we find impressive expansion in the size and complexity of laws over the past two and a half decades. We investigate the sources of this development using methods from network science and natural language processing. To allow for cross-country comparisons over time, we algorithmically reorganise the legislative materials of the United States and Germany into cluster families that reflect legal topics. This reorganisation reveals that the main driver behind the growth of the law in both jurisdictions is the expansion of the welfare state, backed by an expansion of the tax state.

Keywords: Complexity of Law, Legal Complexity, Citation Network, Computational Linguistics, Information Retrieval, Computational Legal Studies, Physics and Society, Evolution of Law, Natural Language Processing, Legal Networks

JEL Classification: O38, O40, H11, H20, H55, C80, K10, K20

Suggested Citation

Katz, Daniel Martin and Coupette, Corinna and Beckedorf, Janis and Hartung, Dirk, Complex Societies and the Growth of the Law (May 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3602098 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3602098

Daniel Martin Katz (Contact Author)

Illinois Tech - Chicago Kent College of Law ( email )

565 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661-3691
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.danielmartinkatz.com/

Stanford CodeX - The Center for Legal Informatics ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

HOME PAGE: http://law.stanford.edu/directory/daniel-katz/

Corinna Coupette

Max Planck Institute for Informatics ( email )

Germany

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law ( email )

Mittelweg 187
Hamburg, D-20148
Germany

Janis Beckedorf

Heidelberg University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Germany

Dirk Hartung

Bucerius Law School - Center for Legal Technology and Data Science ( email )

Jungiusstr. 6
Hamburg, 20355
Germany

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