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New journal launched by USC Gould faculty aims for ‘sweet spot’ in empirical legal studies

Leslie Ridgeway • June 4, 2024
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A new open access, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the growing movement of empirical legal studies – the use of quantitative data and other information gathering methods to understand the law – has just launched under the leadership of USC Gould School of Law professors Lee Epstein and Dan Klerman. They are joined by co-editors Christoph Engel, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, and Eyal Zamir, Augusto Levi Professor of Commercial Law at Hebrew University.

The first issue of the Journal of Law and Empirical Analysis was released by Sage Publishing on May 16, 2024, featuring 10 articles written by scholars from across the globe. The journal’s diverse editorial board underscores its international focus and interdisciplinary approach.

Empirical legal studies as a scholarly pursuit has existed for decades, but the Journal of Law and Empirical Analysis stakes a unique corner in the field as the first completely open access journal of its kind.

“Being available online allows us to publish continuously,” says Klerman, Edward G. Lewis Chair in Law and History at USC Gould now conducting research at Hebrew University as a Fulbright Senior Scholar. “The first issue launches as a package of 10 articles, but after that, articles will be published as soon as they’re ready. Our editors have committed to relatively quick peer reviews to maximize the impact of the research.”

With the interdisciplinary, global nature of empirical legal studies, Epstein and Klerman strove for an international perspective among many relevant fields of scholarship.

“The authors include law professors, political scientists, economists and psychologists,” says Epstein, University Professor of Law & Political Science at USC whose research uses empirical methods to study judicial behavior. “Most journals are based in the U.S. with a smattering of international influence, and we are reaching out all over the world for contributions and readership – trying to hit a sweet spot in empirical legal studies.”

Included in the first issue are a statistical analysis of racial discrimination in police stops and an exploration on whether partisanship on three-judge panels affects how the law develops.

Though both Epstein and Klerman have either served as journal editors or served on editorial boards, neither had developed a journal from the ground up and found the experience enlightening.

“There are so many decisions to make,” says Epstein. “After we obtained a publisher and started receiving articles, there were still many issues coming up all the time.”

“It’s been an adventure,” says Klerman. “But we all get along well, and everyone brings something different to the table. We are thrilled to finally launch the first issue, and we are very proud to be publishing impactful research by leaders in the field.”


Inaugural Articles

The following 10 articles appear in the inaugural issue:


Editorial Board

An interdisciplinary and diverse group of scholars make up the JLEA Editorial Board:

  • Tom Baker, William Maul Measey Professor of Law, Carey Law School, University of Pennsylvania
  • Yun-chien Chang, Jack G. Clarke Professor in East Asian Law, Cornell Law School
  • Alejandro Chehtman, Professor of Law, Law School, University Torcuato Di Tella
  • John Donohue, C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law, School of Law, Stanford University
  • Susann Fiedler, Professor for Business and Psychology, Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien, Department of Strategy and Innovation, Institute for Cognition and Behavior
  • Michael Frakes, A. Kenneth Pye Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of Economics, Duke University School of Law
  • Jim Greiner, The Honorable S. William Green Professor of Public Law, Harvard Law School
  • Mitu Gulati, Perre Bowen Professor of Law and John V. Ray Research Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Ulrike Hahn, Professor of Psychology, School of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck University of London
  • Eric Helland, William F. Podlich Professor of Economics and George R. Roberts Fellow, Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, Claremont McKenna College
  • Gretchen Helmke, Thomas H. Jackson Distinguished University Professor and Faculty Director of the Democracy Center, Department of Political Science, University of Rochester
  • Naomi Lamoreaux, Stanley B. Resor Professor Emeritus of Economics and History, Department of History, Yale University
  • David Law, Honorary Professor, The University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law
  • Michael Livermore, Class of 1957 Research Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Florencia Marotta-Wurgler, Boxer Family Professor of Law, NYU School of Law
  • Michael J. Nelson, Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, Penn State University
  • Anthony Niblett, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Law, Economics, & Innovation, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
  • Eric Posner, Kirkland & Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Arthur and Esther Kane Research Chair, The University of Chicago Law School
  • Ilana Ritov, Professor, School of Education and Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Emily Ryo, Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology, Duke University School of Law
  • Maya Sen, Professor, Kennedy School, Harvard University
  • Dan Simon, Richard L. and Maria B. Crutcher Professor of Law and Psychology, Gould School of Law, University of Southern California
  • Holger Spamann, Lawrence R. Grove Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Cass Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard Law School
  • Doron Teichman, Judge Basil Wunsch Chair in Criminal Law, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Mila Versteeg, Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Keren Weinshall, Edward S. Silver Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • David Weisburd, Walter E. Meyer Chair in Law and Criminal Justice, Institute of Criminology, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem



To access the journal website and editorial board:

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