Jeffrey J. Rachlinski

The Politics of Legal Empirics: Do Political Attitudes Predict the Results of Empirical Legal Scholarship?

Jahrgang 174 () / Heft 1, S. 220-231 (12)

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Empirical legal scholarship has emerged as a dominant trend in legal scholarship. At its best, empirical scholarship subjects assertions about the effect of legal rules to a neutral test. But is empirical inquiry truly neutral? The validity of an empirical study should rest on the reliability of the methods used, rather than the political implications of its conclusions. Scholars might choose targets of inquiry, sources of data, or methods of analysis that support their political allegiances. This paper tests this thesis by matching the political beliefs of authors of empirical legal scholarship with the results of their research. The political allegiances of authors mildly correlate with the results of empirical inquiry in legal scholarship.

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