I wrote about my friendship with Orlando I. Martinez Garcia, who I first met in 2000 or 2001, in my previous reflection. To make a two-decade-long (and counting!) story short, Orlando’s love of mathematics and science eventually rubbed off on me and changed the entire trajectory of my research agenda. Although I continued to teach my introductory Roman law course as well as an upper-level seminar on The Federalist Papers, I became a full-fledged “legal realist” when it came to contemporary law–that is, I realized that appellate court decisions, especially in the area of constitutional law, were mostly just sloppy and shoddy ex post justifications of the judges’ own political preferences–so I wanted to find a more accurate way of modelling and predicting court decisions.
To this end, I decided to teach myself a branch of mathematics popularly known as game theory (see, for example, the image below). Among other things, I participated in an advanced research seminar on “institutional economics” at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona in the fall of 2005; I took Yale professor Ben Polak’s excellent online course on game theory (Econ 159) in the spring of 2007; and Orlando and I both attended NYU professor Rebecca Morton’s summer seminar on formal mathematical modelling at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia in July and August of 2007. With these rigorous and time-consuming studies under my belt, I then began to write up a series of novel papers (two of them with Orlando Martinez himself!) applying a wide variety of mathematical methods to law. By way of example, below is a listing of my “top ten” formal papers–i.e. papers in which I thoroughly analyze an existing mathematical model (like the famous Prisoner’s Dilemma) or build a new one (like my algebraic model of the Coase theorem; see item #5):
- A Game-Theoretic Analysis of the Puerto Rico Status Debate: Part 1 (2008)
- A Game-Theoretic Analysis of Public-Private Partnerships in the Water Sector (2009)
- A Game-Theoretic Analysis of the Puerto Rico Status Debate: Part 2 (2010)
- Clones and the Coase Theorem (2011) (with Orlando)
- Modelling the Coase Theorem (2012)
- Modelling the Optimal Level of Rule Evasion (2013)
- Does the Prisoner’s Dilemma Refute the Coase Theorem? (2014) (with Orlando)
- The Poker-Litigation Game (2015)
- The Colonel Blotto Litigation Game (2016)
- So Long Suckers: Bargaining and Betrayal in Breaking Bad (2018)
At the same time, my interest in mathematical modelling would lead me to the wonderful world of probability theory, but that is getting ahead of my story. Rest assured, I will write about my conversion to Bayesian reasoning and subjective probability in a future “reflection” post. In my next post, however, I want to pay homage to a few of the other scholarly friends that I made while I was at the PUCPR law school in Ponce, P.R., including Jorge Cordava, Hector Cuprill, Julio Fontanet, Gustavo Gelpi, Ramon Antonio Guzman, Ruben Nigaglioni, Daniel Nina, Pedro Ortiz-Alvarez, Efren Ramos, and Carlitos del Valle.