‘The Real World’

Karen Bradshaw, Settling for Natural Resource Damages, 40 Harvard Environmental Law Review 211 (2016); James W Coleman, How Cheap Is Corporate Talk? Comparing Companies’ Comments on Regulations with Their Securities Disclosures, 40 Harvard Environmental Law Review 48 (2016). My very first law professor, Bob Ellickson, once said to my Torts class: ‘You know how law professors do empirical research? They sit in a room and think very hard’. That was in 1984. A lot has changed since then, partly because of pioneering work by Ellickson himself. Since 2012, more than 500 law review articles have included the word ’empirical’ in their titles, and probably hundreds more – including every item in the most recent issue of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies – report or analyze empirical data without titular advertisement. Many of these papers feature linear regressions or other complex statistical analyses aiming to tease out relationships between variables. Yet there remains much value in research that simply but rigorously informs us of what actually happens in the real world. Understanding environmental law, like understanding the environment, begins with observing. This Jot acknowledges the contributions of two recent articles that help us see … (more)

[Steve Gold, JOTWELL, 18 August]

First posted 2017-08-18 11:22:44

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