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Contribution to Book
Do Small Jurisdictions Have a More Complex Law? A Numerical Experiment in Constitutional and Private Law
Le droit compare et…/Comparative Law and… (2016)
  • Jan M Smits, Maastricht University
Abstract
It is commonly assumed that the size of a country’s population has nothing to do with the structure of the law. The law of larger jurisdictions is supposedly just as simple or complex as the law of smaller jurisdictions. However, this hypothesis has never been empirically tested. This is surprising in view of the fact that a thriving field of research in linguistics deals with the relationship between language complexity and the size of the speech community. This research shows that grammatical complexity correlates negatively with the size of the speech community: the bigger the community, the simpler the grammar. The aim of this paper, an experiment in numerical comparative law, is to investigate whether the same is true for the law. The question that it seeks to answer is whether smaller jurisdictions have a more complex law than bigger jurisdictions and, if so, how this could be explained. The material is drawn from both constitutional law and private law.
Keywords
  • Complexity,
  • size of jurisdictions,
  • numerical comparative law
Publication Date
2016
Editor
Alexis Albarian & Olivier Moréteau
Publisher
Presses Universitaires d’Aix-Marseille
Citation Information
Jan M Smits. "Do Small Jurisdictions Have a More Complex Law? A Numerical Experiment in Constitutional and Private Law" Aix-en-ProvenceLe droit compare et…/Comparative Law and… (2016) p. 473 - 485
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jan_smits/78/