New evidence about contracting out


From Spiller and coauthors in JELS:

We apply algorithmic data reading and textual analysis to compare the features of contracts in regulated industries subject to public scrutiny (which we call “public contracts”) with contracts between nongovernmental entities. We show that public contracts are lengthier and have more rule-based rigid clauses; in addition, their renegotiation is formalized in amendments. We also find that contract length and the frequency of rigidity clauses increases in political contestability and closer to upcoming elections. We maintain that the higher rigidity of public contracts is a political risk adaptation strategy carried out by public agents to lower the likelihood of success of politically-motivated challenges from opportunistic third parties.

New dataset on prosecutorial discretion

Supreme Court

Examining Prosecutorial Decision-Making Across Federal District Courts, 2000-2009 [UNITED STATES] (ICPSR 34513)“. Info:

The study used data from the cohorts of federal defendants arrested and prosecuted in federal court from the Federal Justice Statistics Resource Program (FJSRP). It began by linking a cohort of federal bookings and arrests from the 2003-2005 United States Marshall’s Service (USMS) data to the Executive Office of United States Courts (EOUSC) records from 2000-2009. It then separately analyzed the cohort of defendants charged in District Court from the 2003-2006 Administrative Office of United States Courts (AOUSC) data linked to the (United States Sentencing Commission Data) USSC data from 2000-2009. The datasets were linked together using dyadic linking files, which are data files created by researchers at the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) that consist of unique identifiers that tie offenders in one dataset to offenders in a dataset from an adjacent stage of federal case processing. In addition to the FJSRP data, additional data were collected on the social, political and demographic contexts of United States District Courts.

The various data sources used in the study are briefly reviewed as follows:

United States Marshall’s Service (USMS)

Data on federal arrests and bookings came from the USMS. Offenders arrested and booked for violations of federal law were transferred to the custody of the USMS for processing, transportation, and detention. Their Prisoner Tracking System (PTS) collected basic data for all offenders under their custody, which include demographic characteristics, offense data, and information about the arresting agency. The data provided unique information on the categorization of the offense at initial arrest but they lacked information on offender ethnicity. Both citizenship and race of the offender were included in the data, however. The USMS data were therefore useful for identifying certain basic offender characteristics and also for examining potential differences in case processing across different federal law enforcement agencies.

Executive Office of United States Courts (EOUSC)

The EOUSC is an administrative office that provides executive assistance and supervision to all United States Attorneys’ offices, coordinating services such as information technology, legal training and support staff. Data from the EOUSC came from the National LIONS System files, which contain information on the investigation and prosecution of suspects in federal criminal matters received and terminated during the study period. These data included suspects in criminal matters as well as criminal cases, which means they included cases handled by United States District Magistrates as well as those filed in District Court. These data were constructed from the Executive Office’s Central System file and accounted for approximately 95 percent of all prosecutions handled by the Department of Justice. Unique information was available in the EOUSC data regarding such things as stated reasons for case declinations but these data did not contain demographic information for individual offenders nor did they provide detailed records regarding changes in charges from case filing to termination.

Administrative Office of United States Courts (AOUSC)

The AOUSC data contain information about the criminal proceedings against defendants whose cases were filed and terminated in United States District Court during the study period. The data came from the AOUSC’s Criminal Master Files and include data for each defendant in each case filed and concluded. Included in the records were data from court proceedings that incorporate offense codes for up to five offenses charged at the time of filing and at termination. Charges at filing may differ from termination due to plea bargaining or the actions of the judge or jury. In cases with multiple charges, the most serious charge was determined by a hierarchy of offenses based on statutory maximum penalties associated with each charge. These data provided detailed information regarding the number, severity and type of charges brought in each case, but they lacked demographic information for individual defendants.

United States Sentencing Data (USSC)

Data on criminal sentences were obtained from the USSC, an independent administrative agency that develops and monitors sentencing policy in the federal system. These data contained detailed records of criminal defendants sentenced under the federal sentencing guidelines during the study period. The data came from the USSC Office of Policy Analysis (OPA) Standardized Research Data File, which included variables from the Monitoring Department’s database. Sentencing records for convicted offenders were furnished to the USSC by United States district courts and United States magistrates. These data are unusually detailed, including information from the Judgment and Conviction order submitted by the court as well as from the Presentencing Report and the Statement of Reasons summarizing the sentencing hearing. Detailed offense level, guidelines calculation, and offender demographic information were included in the USSC data; however, they did not contain any information on the charging processes and outcomes that precede sentencing.

Linking Files

These files included unique identifiers that track federal offenders across federal agencies – they are agency-based dyadic files, designed to link adjacent stages of federal case processing. The system allows researchers to track individual defendant-cases through sequential stages of criminal case processing in the federal justice system.

Court Context Data

The project augmented the individual offender data with aggregate data on the social environments of federal courts. These district-level data were then merged with the individual offender data to examine variations in case processing outcomes across federal court contexts. Data on federal court contexts came from a variety of sources, including Fedstats, the United States Census, and the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). These measures are designed to capture the structural context of federal courts, their organizational environments, and their surrounding community characteristics as elaborate in greater detail below.

Do people stop publishing after tenure?


In JELS, Albert Yoon answers this question using data from US law schools:

In academia, a subset of faculty has tenure, which allows its beneficiaries to retain their professorships without mandatory retirement and with only limited grounds for revocation. Proponents of tenure argue it protects intellectual freedom and encourages investment in human capital. Detractors contend it discourages effort and distorts the academic labor market. This article develops a framework for examining academic tenure in the context of U.S. law schools. We construct a unique data set of tenured U.S. law professors who began their careers between 1993 through 2002, and follow their employment and scholarship for the first 10 years of their career. Across all journal publications, tenured faculty publish more frequently, are cited with roughly the same frequency, and place in comparable caliber of journal. These productivity gains, however, largely disappear when excluding solicited publications. These results suggest that legal academics continue to produce after tenure, but channel more of their efforts toward less competitive outlets.

Trends in professional degree enrollments

Pomp and Circumstance

From the FT, re MBA programs:

Applications for full-time two-year MBA courses fell in most US business schools last year, according to the latest figures from the Graduate Management Admission Council, the owner and administrator of the GMAT admission exam.


In the US, 53 per cent of schools running full-time two-year MBA courses reported a decline in application numbers in 2016, while 40 per cent reported growth.


Meanwhile, the percentage of business schools worldwide reporting growth in applications declined for a third straight year, from 61 per cent in 2014 to 57 per cent in 2015 to 43 per cent this year.

Smaller courses tended to be worst hit while those with larger student intakes experienced growth.


However part-time MBA courses continue to struggle to raise demand, according to the GMAC figures, with just 43 per cent of these programmes reporting a rise in applications compared with half reporting a decline in volumes.


But he added that the increasing number of tailored business qualifications, such as the master in data analytics degree, meant that there was a more “mixed picture” in terms of demand for specific business schools.

Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 2005 to 2015

Now available from CGS.


Applications and first-time enrollment in U.S. graduate programs continue to grow. For only the second time since the survey was initiated in 1986, the number of applications for master’s and research doctoral programs has surpassed two million. Institutions responding to the survey reported a total of 506,927 graduate students enrolling for the first time in Fall 2015, a record high.

Domestic first-time graduate enrollment is increasing. The 3.8% increase in first-time graduate enrollment among U.S. citizens and permanent residents is sizable compared to the changes between Fall 2013 and Fall 2014 (1.3%). U.S. citizens and permanent residents also continue to constitute the majority of first-time graduate students enrolled in U.S. institutions (78.0% in Fall 2015).

Robust first-time graduate enrollment increases at public institutions. First-time graduate enrollment at public institutions rose by 4.9%, compared to the 1.8% increase at private, not-for-profit institutions.

First-time international graduate enrollment growth slows down. First-time graduate enrollment of international students rose by 5.7%, a rate considerably lower than in recent years. This change in growth also occurred within the broad fields of study, particularly in engineering and mathematics and computer sciences where growth slowed substantially.

Total graduate enrollment continues to be at. Despite increases in applications and first-time graduate enrollment, total enrollment remains relatively unchanged since its peak in 2013, a reflection of lower growth in first-time enrollment in previous years.

Strong growth in URM first-time graduate enrollment. Between Fall 2014 and Fall 2015, increases in first-time graduate enrollment for all underrepresented minority (URM) groups were greater than for White, non-Hispanic counterparts.