Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

The Influence of Two Decades of Contract Law Scholarship on Judicial Rulings: An Empirical Analysis

Gregory S. Crespi, Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law


In this article, the author uses empirical analysis to examine the impact of contract law scholarship on judicial practice. The article surveys the frequency of judicial citation of contract law articles, the nature of the citations of the four articles most frequently cited by judges, and the frequency of citation of the contract law articles in law review articles. The findings reveal a number of points of interest, including: 1) the average citation frequency found for the 1980-1998 subset of contract law articles considered in the study is lower than the frequency found for the comparable subset of statutory interpretation scholarship; 2) judicial citation of contract law scholarship is apparently rather infrequent; 3) a single Steven Burton article concerning the scope of the duty of good faith dominates the judicial citation statistics; and 4) the average article considered in the study was cited approximately 50 times more frequently by other scholars in law review articles than it was in judicial opinions.