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Leximetrics: Why the Same Laws are Longer in Some Countries than Others

26 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2003  

Robert D. Cooter

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Tom Ginsburg

University of Chicago Law School

Date Written: June 2003

Abstract

When do drafters of legal instruments specify details and when do they not? To explore this question, we develop a method called leximetrics that involves comparative quantitative analysis of legal instruments. Using data from the directive process in the European Union, we show: (i) that statute length varies systematically across countries, partially controlling for substance; (ii) that other legal instruments, such as judicial opinions and contracts, are longer in countries with long statutes; and (iii) that both of the above are correlated with a large lawyer population. This paper uses a simple agency model to explain these facts, and offers an agenda for leximetric research.

Suggested Citation

Cooter, Robert D. and Ginsburg, Tom, Leximetrics: Why the Same Laws are Longer in Some Countries than Others (June 2003). U Illinois Law & Economics Research Paper No. LE03-012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=456520 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.456520

Robert Cooter

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
510-642-0503 (Phone)
510-642-3767 (Fax)

Tom Ginsburg (Contact Author)

University of Chicago Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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