Seminar with Yun-chien Chang
(Academia Sinica, Taiwan)
Joint work with Geoffrey Miller
Drawing on a hand-collected data set of 7,354 state supreme court cases from 2003, this
study examines patterns of out-citations to decisions of other courts. We find robust
evidence that state supreme courts preferentially cite to decisions of courts (state and
federal) located in nearby states and correspondingly tend to refrain from citing decisions of
courts in faraway states. We also find strong evidence for a “gravity” model of citations
similar to the pattern postulated for international trade in goods: other things equal, the
volume of citations to courts in other states will be directly proportional to the size of the
cited state and inversely proportional to the distance between the citing and cited states.
We examine other potential influences on out-citation practices: cultural attitudes, political
similarity, ideological affinity, classifications in the Westlaw Reporter series, case type,
transmission of legal knowledge by attorneys, and the possible impact of choice-of-law rules.
In general, these factors other than distance and size play a minor role. The study suggests
the possibility of sub-national or regional effects in the administration of state judge-made
Time & Location
Jan 22, 2020 | 06:00 PM c.t.
Room 2202, Boltzmannstr. 3