Two new papers on SSRN: Measuring EU integration through sovereign debt & Exploring relationships between headnotes in the Supreme Court

  What do you do with that unfinished paper?  You know, the one that’s 50% there but you don’t have the time to finish.  Or maybe it’s the one that’s 80% there, but you don’t want to deal with the inevitable two years of revise-and-resubmit.

  This problem gets even harder when you decide to leave academia.  I still want to collaborate and carry out public, academic research; however, the amount of time I can dedicate to these projects is now significantly constrained.  So what do you do with the projects and papers that didn’t make the cut?  Today, I decided that I’d rather set some of these papers free on SSRN than let them forever sit on a backup drive.  

  The first paper is an EU integration paper I wrote for a Ph.D. seminar last fall on International Political Economy with Andrew Kerner.  It’s decent enough, but I don’t want to deal with the political economy journal culture.  The second is an old SCOTUS project on a network analysis of Lexis headnotes that never got off the ground.  Both are interesting, original, and contain enough finished content that I thought they were worth posting.  Abstracts and links below:

M.J. Bommarito II. The Race to the Bund: Aggregate European and State-Level Integration From the EEC to Present,  2010.

Many scholars point to the decreasing yield spread between the benchmark German bund and other European states as a sign of unprecedented European integration since Maastricht. There are two possible issues with this claim. First, without a historical perspective on sovereign bond yields and their comovements, researchers cannot determine how current levels of integration compare to previous periods of European history. To my knowledge, no previous research examines European yields from the formation of the ECSC or EEC to present, let alone pre-war spreads. Second, the first two moments of yield spreads do not necessarily capture meaningful integration. While the spreads are certainly an important measure, we can better assess integration by examining the correlation of these yields. In this article, I address both of these issues as follows. First, I describe an alternative method of measuring integration in the sovereign bond market based on an eigendecomposition of the time-dependent correlation of yields and their first-order differences. This approach better measures integration than standard methods because it takes into account the degree to which a single dimension explains the structure and movement of yields. Second, I construct a dataset of ten-year sovereign bond yields for the EU-15 countries from 1987 to 2010, as well as subsets of these 15 countries from 1958-2010 and from 1872-1913. I then apply both standard yield spread analysis and the method proposed in this article to these three samples. The results of the standard yield spread analysis indicate that Europe has seen previous periods of comparable financial integration. However, based on the alternative method of this article, integration did not occur until the Single European Act of 1987 and the Maastricht Treaty of 1993. A period of stable and high integration is observed following the adoption of the Euro in 1999. Furthermore, both methods show that the recent global real estate and European fiscal crises have significantly degraded financial integration to a level not seen since Maastricht. In summary, this article contributes both a novel and useful methodological approach and a historical basis on which to evaluate modern European integration in the sovereign bond market.


M.J. Bommarito II. Exploring Relationships between Legal Concepts in the United States Supreme Court, 2009.

We empirically investigate the properties of concepts within the United States Supreme Court corpus using LexisNexis(R) headnotes. By analyzing the relationships between concepts, we uncover structure embedded both within cases and across cases. Furthermore, we estimate the dimensionality of the Supreme Court concept space and thus identify the dominant concepts of the corpus both within a given period and cumulatively. These results provide insight both into the history of these legal concepts and the Court as a whole, proving valuable to a wide range of legal scholars.