Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Edited by Alexander Wagenaar, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, and Scott Burris 


“As someone previously unaware that there was a field of legal epidemiology, I was intrigued. As I examined the book’s chapters, I became increasingly aware of the value and potential future contributions of the field. For public health professionals of all stripes, this book will, at a minimum, enrich the life of the mind. For some, it will directly broaden and deepen their own work.”
– Kenneth E. Warner, PhD, Avedis Donabedian Distinguished University Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus, University of Michigan School of Public Health

Events since its original publication in 2013 have shown the immense impact that laws have on public health. From the COVID-19 pandemic to the opioid crisis in the United States and more. To make the most positive impact on public health outcomes, we must study the foundations of legal epidemiology. 

In the revised second edition, Legal Epidemiology: Theory and Methods [Wiley, August 15, 2023], a team of 22 distinguished researchers from across a diverse set of social science disciplines deliver a thorough primer on the problems that arise in legal epidemiology—and potential solutions to those problems. 

Following an introduction to the basic concepts of the field in Part One, the book offers a rich collection of theories that researchers have used to study how law influences behavior in Part Two. The book also covers the special questions of measurement that arise when law is the independent variable and the various study designs for legal epidemiology. 

Drawing on the full range of social, psychological, sociological, and sociolegal disciplines to better understand, measure, and predict how much laws will influence health-relevant behaviors and environments, editors Alexander Wagenaar, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Scott Burris have also included works that: 

  • Discuss the frameworks for legal epidemiology, including explorations of law in public health systems and services 
  • Examine how law influences behavior, including discussions of criminological theories, procedural justice theory, and economic theory
  • Explore the design of legal epidemiology evaluations, including natural experiments, randomized trials, and qualitative research 

“Researchers and lawyers built the field of legal epidemiology because they saw the need for this type of research then and continue to see that public health law is critically under-evaluated,” says Burris, Director of the Center for Public Health Law Research at Temple University Beasley School of Law. 

Experienced researchers, policy analysts, and novice scientists will appreciate this book’s practical descriptions of the process for conducting strong legal epidemiology studies. These tools will advance public health law research and will serve to orient non-scientists to the study of legal epidemiology. 

Legal Epidemiology: Theory and Methods benefits students, novice scientists, and non-scientists seeking a general orientation to the subject. This is an essential and engaging resource for experienced social science researchers, health scientists, legal scholars and policy analysts. 

ALEXANDER C. WAGENAAR, PhD, is Research Professor at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida College of Medicine.  

ROSALIE LICCARDO PACULA, PhD, holds the Elizabeth Garrett Chair in Health Policy, Economics & Law in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. 

SCOTT BURRIS, JD, is Professor of Law and Public Health at Temple University, where he directs the Center for Public Health Law Research. He is also a Professor in Temple’s College of Public Health.   

Learn more about the book at  

Legal Epidemiology: Theory and Methods is available now at Wiley and Amazon and wherever books are sold.