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With astounding speed and comprehensiveness, experimental approaches to law and economics have infiltrated the legal academy. Slightly more than a decade ago, one could find only a handful of studies that attempted to bring the insights and methodologies of experimental economics and cognitive and social psychology to law. Today, on the other hand, one finds an array of experimental studies on legal topics being conducted at universities in North America, Europe, Israel, and elsewhere. New scholars are being encouraged into the field not only indirectly through the field’s salience and popularity, but alsomore directly and tangibly through the establishment of scholarship competitions and conferences aimed specifically at junior scholars. A new peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, has become a leading outlet for empirical approaches to law, including experimental ones. This special issue of the Journal of Theoretical and Institutional Economics, co-edited by Christoph Engel of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods and Urs Schweizer of the University of Bonn, further demonstrates the transnational appeal of experimental law and economics. The net result has been an explosion of interest in empirical approaches to law in general, and experimental approaches in particular.
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