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George Mason Law & Economics Center Request for Proposals

Policy-focused Empirical Research on Law and Economics

INTRODUCTION: The Searle Civil Justice Institute (SCJI) is seeking proposals for empirical research projects. The SCJI will select proposals in a two-stage process.

The SCJI is a public policy institute within the Law & Economics Center at George Mason University School of Law. The SCJI’s core mission is to provide policy-relevant empirical research in the field of law & economics.

SCJI research projects typically involve large original data sets, performance of statistical and econometric analyses, and the production of an SCJI Public Policy Report within a timeframe of 6-12 months. SCJI research projects follow a research protocol and undergo external peer review. An in-house research team of economists and lawyers, as well as significant financial resources, allows the SCJI to engage in data collection and outreach efforts that often exceed the means of individual academics.

STAGE 1: CALL FOR PRELIMINARY STATEMENTS OF RESEARCH PROJECTS: The SCJI requests Preliminary Statements of Research Projects, not to exceed 1,000 words. The Preliminary Statements should include a brief description of the policy issue(s), the empirical research question, the proposed methodology, and the availability of data necessary to answer the research question. Although all policy-relevant and topical proposals will be considered, the SCJI is interested in research that pertains to the following topics:
– Antitrust
– Arbitration
– Class Actions and Aggregate Litigation
– Criminalization of Corporate Conduct
– Litigation Financing
– Privacy and Data Security
– States Attorneys General Scope of Enforcement Authority/Retention of Private Counsel
– State Consumer Protection Acts
– State and/or Federal False Claims Acts/Qui Tam/Whistleblowers

Special consideration will be given to proposals with an expected completion time of six months or less.

STAGE 2: DEVELOPMENT OF FORMAL RESEARCH PROPOSAL AND PRESENTATION AT RESEARCH WORKSHOP: Upon review of the Preliminary Statements, the SCJI will select a small number of authors to prepare and present a Formal Research Proposal. The SCJI will pay selected authors an honorarium of $5,000 to prepare and present this research proposal.

These second stage research proposals must include the following elements: an executive summary of two pages or less describing the proposal for a non-academic audience; a clear statement of the policy issue(s) to be studied; background and motivations; the specific empirical research questions; potential policy implications; proposed analyses and basic research plan; data needs, sources, and estimated costs; and a timeline detailing milestones and deliverables.

Selected authors will present their Formal Research Proposals at a Research Workshop at George Mason University School of Law. The SCJI will utilize the workshop to determine which proposals to accept for funding.

ACCEPTED PROPOSALS: The SCJI will support accepted proposals in the following manner: paying authors honoraria to lead the research project; providing access to SCJI staff with economic, statistical, and legal expertise to assist on the research project; paying for necessary data (which may include research assistants to collect and code data that might otherwise be unavailable); and funding a comprehensive communications strategy for the final Public Policy Report. On average, the SCJI spends between $50,000 – $100,000 to research and promote each project.

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION PROCEDURE: Initial Preliminary Statements of Research Proposals, not to exceed 1,000 words, must be received by June 28, 2013, to receive full consideration. Please send Preliminary Statements electronically to:

The SCJI will notify authors selected to present a Formal Research Proposal by July 15, 2013.

The SCJI Empirical Research Workshop will take place in late August 2013.

FURTHER INFORMATION: For further information, please contact:

James Cooper
Director, Research and Policy
Law & Economics Center
George Mason University School of Law
3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201

For additional information about the Law & Economics Center, please visit:

For additional information about the Searle Civil Justice Institute, please visit

Posted in Announcement, Calls for Papers, Law Center

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