Measuring Law Over Time: A Network Analytical Framework with an Application to Statutes and Regulations in the United States and Germany

61 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2021

See all articles by Corinna Coupette

Corinna Coupette

Max Planck Institute for Informatics

Janis Beckedorf

Heidelberg University - Faculty of Law

Dirk Hartung

Bucerius Law School - Center for Legal Technology and Data Science; Stanford University - Stanford Codex Center

Michael James Bommarito

Bommarito Consulting, LLC; Licensio, LLC; Stanford Center for Legal Informatics; Michigan State College of Law

Daniel Martin Katz

Illinois Tech - Chicago Kent College of Law; Stanford CodeX - The Center for Legal Informatics; Bucerius Center for Legal Technology & Data Science

Date Written: January 25, 2021

Abstract

How do complex social systems evolve in the modern world? This question lies at the heart of social physics, and network analysis has proven critical in providing answers to it. In recent years, network analysis has also been used to gain a quantitative understanding of law as a complex adaptive system, but most research has focused on legal documents of a single type, and there exists no unified framework for quantitative legal document analysis using network analytical tools. Against this background, we present a comprehensive framework for analyzing legal documents as multi-dimensional, dynamic document networks. We demonstrate the utility of this framework by applying it to an original dataset of statutes and regulations from two different countries, the United States and Germany, spanning more than twenty years (1998–2019). Our framework provides tools for assessing the size and connectivity of the legal system as viewed through the lens of specific document collections as well as for tracking the evolution of individual legal documents over time. Implementing the framework for our dataset, we find that at the federal level, the American legal system is increasingly dominated by regulations, whereas the German legal system remains governed by statutes. This holds regardless of whether we measure the systems at the macro, the meso, or the micro level.

Keywords: legal complexity, evolution of law, quantitative legal studies, empirical legal studies, legal data science, network analysis, natural language processing, complex systems

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

Suggested Citation

Coupette, Corinna and Beckedorf, Janis and Hartung, Dirk and Bommarito, Michael James and Katz, Daniel Martin, Measuring Law Over Time: A Network Analytical Framework with an Application to Statutes and Regulations in the United States and Germany (January 25, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3773130 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3773130

Corinna Coupette

Max Planck Institute for Informatics ( email )

Germany

Janis Beckedorf

Heidelberg University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Germany

Dirk Hartung (Contact Author)

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

Jungiusstr. 6
Hamburg, 20355
Germany

Stanford University - Stanford Codex Center ( email )

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

HOME PAGE: http://https://law.stanford.edu/directory/dirk-hartung/

Michael James Bommarito

Bommarito Consulting, LLC ( email )

MI 48098
United States

HOME PAGE: http://bommaritollc.com

Licensio, LLC ( email )

Okemos, MI 48864
United States

Stanford Center for Legal Informatics ( email )

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

Michigan State College of Law ( email )

318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States

Daniel Martin Katz

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/

Bucerius Center for Legal Technology & Data Science ( email )

Jungiusstr. 6
Hamburg, 20355
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://legaltechcenter.de/

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