May 14, 2006
A colleague and I were thinking of developing an online course in the basics of economtric methods for law teachers specifically, so that they would be able to do empirical research on their own (from start to finish; i.e. data downloads, input into programs such as E-Views, and basic regression and similar techniques). The are about 8000 or so law professors in the US and many more elsewhere. But, nevertheless the market is not very large. Having spent time in social sciences and in hard sciences, I am aware that grant money is difficult to come by unless one wants to do applied (empirical) work. Grant funds are the exception in the law, not the norm as in physics or medicine.
May 14, 2006 | Permalink
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Your posting raises the interesting question whether law professor interest in empirical research will always be inherently limited by the general unavailability of grant money for legal studies comparable to the funds more available for social science or "hard" science empirical research. Perhaps not. I think that empirical research and subsequent publication that is based upon data sets originally created by other people could be conducted by a law professor during his normal research time without grant funding or skilled research assistants if that person has the quantitative skills that your proposed course might help impart. So there may be some significant interest in such a course among law professors if it is a sufficient vehicle for smart people with relatively limited quantitative backgrounds to develop solid quantitative analytical skills in statistical analysis (tall order!). However, empirical research of a field work/data collection nature is obviously much more labor-intensive and uncertain as to the value of its ultimate results, and consequently generally requires some external financial support and graduate student assistance. Such field work will likely never be very popular with law professors who have limited access to such financial support and to graduate doctoral students for research assistance. Greg Crespi
Posted by: Greg Crespi | May 26, 2006 4:30:37 PM