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September 26, 2006


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Are you surprised that Harvard is missing from the top 20? Does its absence possibly indicate that a percentage is not the right measure here? (Harvard is 13th overall in the number of social scientists.) How will these numbers shift in the next few years?

William Henderson

Tracey, Two points:

1) I imagine you will address this point later in the week, but the PhD arguably supplies the tools to do empirical work. To see if PhD's are indeed a good predictor of ELS output, we need to operationalize some measure of empirical work--very difficult analytically and logistically. Otherwise, the counting of PhD's is primarily a beauty contest. Note that Caron & Gely (2004) found no relationship between graduate degrees and quality/quantity of output. Those results could have been a product of criterion used and the simple methodology (paired t-tests). But maybe not.

2) Your original Ind L J article on ELS rankings defined empirical as primarily quantitative in nature. The narrowness of that concept--which was, I think, widely shared by many in the legal academy--has come up repeatedly on this blog, most pointedly by Howard Gillman, Beth Mertz, Bob Nelson, and Stewart MacCauley. Have you rethought whether your methodology should include qualitative social science methods?

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