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Empirical Studies & Bubbles: A Response

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is the Murray Shusterman Professor of Transactional and Business Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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2 Responses

  1. Deven says:

    Dave

    Could it be that the bull market relied on notions of empirical models as being perfect predictors, and as that idea took hold, more and more people thought quantitative approaches had more validity than other approaches even if there was a causation/correlation error? In other words was the bull market run and the related economic methods so powerful in reinforcing its premise that it bled into other areas? To be clear I am not saying that empirical studies are useless. Rather I wonder whether the idea that numbers and models are the be all, is overstated yet when they seem to work, many will follow.

  2. A certain strain of empirical work is not sensitive to endowments – work that the private sector funds that may be expert witness/litigation specific or that advocates a position that a business, an association or a law firm is willing to fund. This work will not go away and neither will the empirical projects funded by such work.

    I disagree that empirical work does not cost as much as other scholarship. You need a significantly larger RA budget for people to do coding. Moreover, unless the quality of SJDs has improved considerably, you need to go outside the law school to get grad students in econ, finance, political science or sociology, depending on your empirical bent to do the modeling grunt work. Because a dedicated PhD grad student requires tuition remission (not just the meager per hour wage of a law RA), you are looking at a yearly bill of $35,000 at most schools for a dedicated half time RA who is a PhD student.