Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Ryan Whalen on Quantitative Methods in Comparative Law (New Book Chapter)

"Quantitative Methods in Comparative Law"
Ryan Whalen
in Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law 
Edward Elgar Publishing, pp.277–283
Published online: December 2023

I. Overview and background

Quantitative comparative law includes any research that entails the collection and analysis of quantitative data with the aim of comparing legal systems or jurisdictions. As such it is a large, and growing, body of work that intersects not only with traditional comparative law research, but also that in many cognate disciplines such as economics or sociology. Although quantitative methods represent a relatively fast-growing area of comparative law, the adoption of quantitative methods to answer questions of comparative law has been somewhat slower than in other related areas of study (Adams and others [2017]; Spamann [2009]). 
     In some ways, the late arrival of quantitative methods to comparative law is surprising. After all, the interdisciplinary nature of comparative law exposes its scholars to areas of inquiry that other disciplines have long approached with quantitative methods. Comparative legal scholars overlap in many ways with criminologists, sociologists, economists, political scientists and others who often turn to quantitative methods as one set of tools within their disciplinary toolbox. Furthermore, quantifying things is one of the clearest ways to generate comparisons. Indeed, as children learn about the fundamentals of comparison they often do so in a quantitative fashion (e.g. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr Seuss [1960]). This might lead one to think that comparativists should be especially prone to quantitative approaches to their research. However, for a variety of reasons – including the nature of graduate legal education and the fact that law is largely a professional discipline with texts at its foundations – adoption of quantitative methods in comparative law has been slower than in other related areas of study. Although it may have been somewhat slower to adopt quantitative methods than related fields of research, comparative legal scholarship has grown steadily more receptive of these approaches...

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