Paul L. Caron

Friday, August 18, 2006

Updated SSRN Graduate Tax Faculty Rankings

Ssrn_100Theodore P. Seto (Loyola-L.A.) has updated his monthly rankings of the Top 15 Graduate Tax Faculties, as measured by the number of SSRN downloads (through 8/15/06):      



Due to a misallocation of faculty members, Florida and Wayne State were overcounted last month. This error has been corrected in this month’s rankings. As a result, Florida has dropped in the rankings and Wayne State has dropped out of the top 15 entirely.

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). For more details about Ted's study, see below the fold:

SSRN graduate tax faculty ranking changes since July 2006:


For purpose of Ted Seto’s analysis, a tax professor is defined as any law professor at a U.S. law school (1) self-identifying with one of the tax categories in the 2005-2006 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 2006-2007 new hires and lateral transfers is also reflected. 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.

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Tracked on Aug 21, 2006 6:03:27 AM


With all due respect, this is a dumb way to rank graduate tax programs. The problem is that, at any given graduate tax program, only maybe 1-3 professors are actually uploading articles to SSRN. Ranking a school based on the articles of those few professors is too small a sample size to denote much of anything. Also, the ranking does not include the work of other professors at the various programs who simply choose not to upload articles to SSRN. The current 1, 2, 3 rankings basically reflect the downloads of Reuven Avi-Yonah/Kyle Logue (Michigan), David Walker (BU) and Dan Shaviro (NYU), since those are more-or-less the only graduate tax profs from those schools who upload articles to SSRN regularly. However, the rankings do not reflect the scholarship of other good scholars at the schools who simply choose to publish elsewhere. At the end of the day, all you can really gather from the SSRN Graduate Faculty Tax ranking is which schools have the most professors who choose to publish at SSRN rather than elsewhere. And that is not a particularly good criterion by which to rank graduate tax programs.

Posted by: Avid Tax Prof Blog Reader | Aug 19, 2006 5:39:50 PM