We have been working on a larger paper applying many concepts from structural analysis and complexity science to the study of bodies of statutory law such as the United States Code. To preview the broader paper, we’ve published to SSRN and arXiv a shorter, more technical analysis of the properties of the United States Code’s network of citations.
Abstract: The United States Code is a body of documents that collectively comprises the statutory law of the United States. In this short paper, we investigate the properties of the network of citations contained within the Code, most notably its degree distribution. Acknowledging the text contained within each of the Code’s section nodes, we adjust our interpretation of the nodes to control for section length. Though we find a number of interesting properties in these degree distributions, the power law distribution is not an appropriate model for this system.