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Citations, Age, Fame, and the Web

Listed author(s):
  • Landes, William M
  • Posner, Richard A

This paper focuses on the role of age in explaining the ranking of legal scholars by the number of citations to their scholarship and the relationship between scholarly and "popular" reputations, with the latter being proxied by the number of "hits" on the World Wide Web or newspaper citations. As predicted by human capital theory, nearly 40 percent of the top 100 legal scholars were between 60 and 86 in 1998. When we turn to popular reputations, we find that compared to really famous people (such as President Clinton and former presidents), top legal scholars are not famous at all. The data also suggest that fame among the larger public is more unequally distributed than scholarly reputation. We use regression analysis to study scholarly and public reputation. We find that being a Supreme Court justice (but not being a judge of any other court) and having had another high government position (such as solicitor general of the United States) has a statistically significant effect on one's public but not scholarly reputation. Overall, we find a small though statistically significant link between scholarly and public reputation. Copyright 2000 by the University of Chicago.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Legal Studies.

Volume (Year): 29 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 319-344

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:29:y:2000:i:1:p:319-44
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