Workshop on Experimental Comparative Law

  • Start: May 23, 2019
  • End: May 24, 2019
  • Location: MPI
  • Room: Basement
Workshop on Experimental Comparative Law

Empirical comparative law has received a lot of attention in recent years. Different from traditional comparative law, empirical comparative law is dedicated to answering causal questions about the emergence of rules and their impact on real-life outcomes. Most existing research attempts to draw inferences from observed cross-country (or cross-state) variation in the variables of interest. Partly because of inherent limitations of observational research, commentators have started to challenge the validity of the results of such research.

Can experimental methods provide a way out of this impasse? Experiments at least in principle allow for a sound identification of causal effects. At the same time, the external validity of the results of such research can sometimes seem questionable. This might be particularly true in comparative law, where (a) different legal rules potentially fulfil similar functions, putting into question whether it makes sense to investigate the functioning of legal rules under an assumption of all other things being equal, and (b) research is often not only interested in the micro behaviour of individual actors.
This workshop will bring together researchers from comparative law and empirical legal studies to discuss the promises as well as potential pitfalls of using experimental methods in comparative law. At the same time, the aim of this workshop is to identify topics in comparative law which would lend themselves to research using experiments.

Organizers: Christoph Engel, Hanjo Hamann, Jens Frankenreiter

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