The Scientific Evolution of Baldus and
George G. Woodworth
ABSTRACT: Beginning in 1975, University of Iowa Law Professor David
Baldus and Statistics Professor George Woodworth collaborated on
numerous studies analyzing the role of racial discrimination in the
application of the death penalty. This speech, delivered by the author at the
“Batson at Twenty-Five: Perspectives on the Landmark, Reflections on the
Legacy” symposium at the University of Iowa Law School, addresses the
working relationship between the author and Baldus prior to his death in
2011. This speech has been adapted for publication.
Good afternoon. My name is George Woodworth but you can call me
Thanks to Dave, I’m a recovering mathematical statistician.
Dave’s first empirical legal study, concerning recovery of public
assistance payments, appeared in 1973.1 It was followed by empirically based
papers with University of Iowa Statistics Professor James W.L. Cole. The first,
in 1975, evaluated deterrence research.2 Their first publication on statistical
proof of discrimination appeared in 19773 and led to their well-regarded
book, Statistical Proof of Discrimination, which appeared in 1980 and was
supplemented annually through 1987.4
Jim Cole, Dave’s first statistical collaborator, came to Iowa in 1968 and I
came in 1971. He and I were the only applied statisticians in the
Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences and quickly formed an
alliance. We started teaching an applied statistical consulting class and set up
Professor, Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Iowa. B.A.
1962, Carleton College; Ph.D. 1966, University of Minnesota.
1. David C. Baldus, Welfare as a Loan: An Empirical Study of the Recovery of Public Assistance
Payments in the United States, 25 STAN. L. REV. 123 (1973).
2. David C. Baldus & James W.L. Cole, A Comparison of the Work of Thorsten Sellin and Isaac
Ehrlich on the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment, 85 YALE L.J. 170 (1975).
3. David C. Baldus & James W.L. Cole, Quantitative Proof of Intentional Discrimination, 1
EVALUATION Q. 53 (1977).
4. DAVID C. BALDUS & JAMES W.L. COLE, STATISTICAL PROOF OF DISCRIMINATION (1980 &