About “The Most-Cited Law Review Articles of All Time” (Posting 2)

An article just published in Michigan Law Review by me and Michelle Pearse includes an updated version of my study of the most-cited law review articles of all time. I went to great pains to incorporate not just totals from the HeinOnline database of citations by legal articles, but also totals from the Web of Science database of citations by social-science articles. The rationale for including Web of Science non-law citations on the all-time list was that law is an interdisciplinary field. I discovered, however, that the interdisciplinarity is in fact fairly one-sided. Law cites the social sciences, but it does not get cited very much by the social sciences. As a result, the addition of Web of Science data did not change the all-time list appreciably.

The main result from adding in social science citations was the elevation of Ronald H. Coase’s “The Problem of Social Cost” from fourth place in a ranking based solely on HeinOnline law citations to first place in the combined ranking. “The Problem
of Social Cost” had 2,484 social science citations in Web of Science. The only other legal articles with large numbers of social science citations were Stewart Macaulay, “Non-Contractual Relations in Business: A Preliminary Study” (639); Henry G. Manne, “Mergers and the Market for Corporate Control” (414); Henry B. Hansmann, “The Role of Nonprofit Enterprise” (379); Richard A. Posner, “Theories of Economic Regulation” (379); Samuel D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis, “The Right to Privacy” (347); Ian R.
Macneil, “Contracts: Adjustment of Long-Term Economic Relations under Classical, Neoclassical, and Relational Contract Law” (345); Marc Galanter, “Why the Haves Come Out Ahead: Speculations on the Limits of Legal Change” (263); and Kimberlé Crenshaw, Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color” (240).