Numerical Comparative Law - Do We Need Statistical Evidence in Law in Order to Reduce Complexity?

20 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2004

See all articles by Mathias Siems

Mathias Siems

European University Institute (EUI); Durham University; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)


In recent times comparative law has been increasingly pursued in a numerical way (e.g., La Porta et al., 106 J. Polit. Economy 1113 (1998); West, 149 U. Pa. L. Rev. 528 (2001); Berkowitz et al., 51 Am. J. Comp. L. 163 (2003); Djankov et al., 118 Quart. J. Econ. 453 (2003)). Although attributing and comparing legal differences by numbers is contrary to the traditional way of doing comparative law, there is almost no general methodological discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of numerical comparative law. Thus, it is a topic in which new and interesting considerations can be raised. After the introduction (Part I.), I will, first, look at some examples that use a numerical method in comparative company/corporate law (Part II.). Following this, I will deal with three arguments both against and in favour of numerical comparative law (Parts III. and IV.). Finally, I will suggest that in using numerical comparative law, the guidelines of necessity, methodical awareness, transparency, comparability, functional equivalents, and reflections, have to be considered (Part V.).

Keywords: Comparative law, company law, corporate law, corporate governance, numerical method

JEL Classification: K00, K22, G30, G32, G34, G38, H30, N40

Suggested Citation

Siems, Mathias, Numerical Comparative Law - Do We Need Statistical Evidence in Law in Order to Reduce Complexity?. Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 13, pp. 521-540, 2005, Available at SSRN: or

Mathias Siems (Contact Author)

European University Institute (EUI) ( email )

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Firenze, 50139


Durham University ( email )

Stockton Road
Durham, County Durham DH1 3LE
United Kingdom


European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

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1000 Brussels

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