Empirical Law and Economics

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This article begins with a stylized history of empirical work in law and economics. It links the success of the empirical movement in law and economics with the so-called ‘credibility revolution’. The hallmark of this revolution has been a focus on research designs that helped overcome some of the impediments to empirical work in law schools. It then provides some methodological observations about a number of commonly used approaches to estimating policy effects. Next, it uses the literature on the economics of crime and criminal procedure to illustrate the ways in which many of these techniques have been used. It provides examples of fields — corporate law and economics and civil procedure — that would benefit from increased attention to modern empirical analysis and methods.


empirical work, credibility revolution, criminal procedure, economics of crime, empirical analysis

Publication Title

The Oxford Handbook of Law and Economics, Volume 1: Methodology and Concepts