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Thursday, September 25, 2008

SSRN Graduate Tax Faculty Rankings

Theodore P. Seto (Loyola-L.A.) has updated his rankings of the Top 15 Graduate Tax Faculties, as measured by the number of SSRN downloads (through 9/12/08) [click on chart to enlarge]:

Seto_on_the_top_15_grad_tax_faculti

For purpose of Ted’s analysis, a tax professor is initially defined as any law professor at a U.S. law school (1) self-identifying with one of the tax categories in the AALS faculty listing, (2) who has posted at least one tax or tax-related article in abstract or full text on SSRN. Paul Caron’s listing of new hires and lateral transfers is also reflected. Further corrections are also made as requested. As is true of Paul Caron’s ranking of individual tax professors, downloads of all SSRN postings of any tax professor, so defined, are then tallied. Articles co-authored by members of a single faculty are counted only once towards that faculty’s tally.

For more on the use of SSRN downloads in law school rankings, see Bernard S. Black & Paul L. Caron, Ranking Law Schools: Using SSRN to Measure Scholarly Performance, 81 Ind. L.J. 83 (2006).

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Comments

Am I the only one who sees how silly these numbers are? Does anyone really think that Loyola (or Chapman) has a better tax faculty than NYU? I feel like I must be missing something.

What is especially upsetting is the dynamic here. Many law schools are now paying people, not to produce original scholarship, but to produce surveys which show how "productive" their own law schools are. Presumably these surveys also show up in the surveys prompting a still higher rating.

There have been a lot of comments recently about the choice of Sarah Palin and her supposed lack of academic or intellectual credentials. I challenge anyone to find anything Sarah Palin has said that is as silly as surveys of scholarly productivity being used as evidence of that productivity. Perhaps one reason the public has lost confidence in academia is that it doesn't deserve the confidence.

Posted by: mike livingston | Sep 25, 2008 1:14:18 PM