Daniel Martin Katz (University of Michigan - Department of Political Science; University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Center for Study of Complex Systems), Joshua Gubler (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor -- Department of Political Science), Jon Zelnerm (University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Center for Study of Complex Systems), Eric A. Provins (University of Michigan - Department of Political Science), & Eitan M Ingall have posted Reproduction of Hierarchy? A Social Network Analysis of the American Law Professoriate on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
As its structure offers one causal mechanism for the emergence of and convergence upon a collective conception of what constitutes a sound legal rule, we believe the social structure of the American law professoriate is an important piece of a broader model of American common law development. Leveraging advances in network science and drawing from available information on the more 7,200 tenure-track professor employed by an ABA accredited institution, we explore the topology of the legal academy including the relative distribution of authority among its institutions. Drawing from social epidemiology literature, we provide a computational model for diffusion on our network. The model provides a parsimonious display of the trade off between "idea infectiousness" and structural position. While our model is undoubtedly simple, our initial foray into computational legal studies should, at a minimum, motivate future scholarship.
Must reading for anyone interested in the institutional structure of the legal academy. Here is one of the most accessible results--a ranking of law schools by placements of graduates at other law schools. (Note that this study ranks all graduates in the AALS faculty directory, while the entry-level hiring survey is limited to placements this year.)
But the most interesting findings depend on the more complex descriptions of data permitted by network theory. Here an interesting depiction of the placement relationships. The top school is Harvard, and the one below that is Yale:
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