Leximetrics: Why the Same Laws are Longer in Some Countries than Others
26 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2003
Date Written: June 2003
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.
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