Social scientists have performed and analyzed a number of randomized studies of policies, but the legal literature has not addressed whether and how the legal system should incorporate experimental methods. This Article identifies several benefits of randomized legal experimentation and argues that these benefits supports self-executing experiments, whose results would lead to policy changes agreed upon in advance. Randomized experiments can generate information, and self-execution can help ensure that this information affects the policy process. Such experiments may be easier to enact than other legal reforms, because each side of a policy debate may believe that an experiment is likely to support its cause. This Article argues that administrative law doctrine should be more deferential to agency decisions to perform such experiments than to enact policies without evidence from randomized experiments. The Article describes the advantages and limitations of randomization, and explores ethical and equality-based arguments against experimentation.
GW Paper Series
GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 447; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 447
Abramowicz, Michael B., "Randomized Legal Experimentation" (2008). GW Law Faculty Publications & Other Works. 230.