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Exploiting Plaintiffs through Settlement: Divide and Conquer

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  • Yeon-Koo Che
  • Kathryn E. Spier

Abstract

This paper considers settlement negotiations between a single defendant and N plaintiffs when there are fixed costs of litigation. When making simultaneous take-it-or-leave-it offers to the plaintiffs, the defendant adopts a divide-and-conquer strategy. Plaintiffs settle their claims for less than they are jointly worth. The problem is worse when N is larger, the offers are sequential, and the plaintiffs make offers instead. Although divide-and-conquer strategies dilute the defendant's incentives, they increase the settlement rate and reduce litigation spending. Plaintiffs can raise their joint payoff through transfer payments, voting rules, and covenants not to accept discriminatory offers.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 164 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 4-23

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Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200803)164:1_4:eptsda_2.0.tx_2-g

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Stremitzer, Alexander, 2008. "Plaintiffs exploiting Plaintiffs," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 224, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. Rohan Pitchford & Mark L. J. Wright, 2010. "Holdouts in Sovereign Debt Restructuring: A Theory of Negotiation in a Weak Contractual Environment," NBER Working Papers 16632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Claudia M. Landeo & Kathryn E. Spier, 2008. "Naked Exclusion: An Experimental Study of Contracts with Externalities," NBER Working Papers 14115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Guttel, Ehud & Leshem, Shmuel, 2013. "Bargaining around cost–benefit standards," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 55-67.
  5. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, . "Settlement and Trial: Selected Analyses of the Bargaining Environment," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers vuecon-sub-14-00006, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.

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