WWS Calendar

Basing Rules on Empirical Evidence: Transparency in Lawmaking

Feb 24, 2015 12:30PM to 01:30PM
Sherrerd Hall
306 Sherrerd Hall


Restricted to Princeton University
VIctoria Stodden, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and David Levine, Visiting Research Collaborator at CITP and an Associate Professor at Elon University School of Law

Food and discussion begin at 12:30pm. Open to current Princeton faculty, staff, and students. Open to members of the public by invitation only. Please contact Laura Cummings-Abdo at lcumming@princeton.edu if you are interested in attending a particular lunch.

The increasing use of empirical evidence in policy making is raising questions about rules that govern the use of such information. At the same time, empirical studies are influencing legislative analysis and history in ways that we are only beginning to ascertain. In this article, we seek to establish and address the baseline questions that arise in and about a modern legislative body assessing scientific evidence.

The issues surrounding scientific evidence in the policymaking arena are broad. For example, do studies used in the determination of laws and regulations need to be disclosed? Should they have minimum standards they need to meet, for example in scientific integrity or transparency? Evidence-based rule-making brings these issues sharply to the fore. We will discuss the current legal requirements (or lack thereof) when using empirical findings in policy making, using recent cases as examples, and propose some legislative guideposts.


David S. Levine is a Visiting Research Collaborator at CITP, an Associate Professor at Elon University School of Law and an Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. He is also the founder and host of Hearsay Culture on KZSU-FM (Stanford University), an information policy, intellectual property law and technology talk show that was named a top five podcast in the American Bar Association’s Blawg 100 of 2008. His research focuses on technology and intellectual property law and policy, specifically information flows and systems in lawmaking and regulatory processes and intellectual property law’s impact on public and private secrecy, transparency and accountability. He is also active in advocacy and policy arenas ranging from international trade law to hydraulic fracturing regulation.