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Empirical Methods for the Law

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Normative legal argument based on empirical evidence is not necessarily best served by standards from the social sciences. Precautionary concern for false negatives may call for an adjustment of the significance level. That all legal choice is historically contingent, that legal problems tend to be ill-defined, and that strategic actors have an incentive to bias the generation of evidence create further challenges. Yet the law can capitalize on the adversarial principle. Competition among interested parties helps contain the strategic element and spurs the creative search for better evidence. This leads to suggestive, but institutionally contained, empirical evidence.
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Keywords: BAYESIAN STATISTICS; FINITE MIXTURE; FREQUENTIST STATISTICS; MACHINE LEARNING; NORMATIVE CLAIMS; POWER; PREDICTION; SIGNIFICANCE; STRUCTURAL-EQUATION MODEL

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2018

This article was made available online on 18 December 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Empirical Methods for the Law".

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  • Founded as Zeitschrift für die gesamte Staatswissenschaft in 1844.

    As one of the oldest journals in the field of political economy, the Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE) deals traditionally with the problems of economics, social policy, and their legal framework. JITE is listed in the Journal of Economic Literature, the Social Science Citation Index, the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, and COREJ.

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    From 2013 on all accepted articles are published in an Online First version (in their final layout) to make them searchable and citable by their DOI immediately after peer review and acceptance. Once the article is published in an issue of the journal, the Online First version will be removed.

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