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Legal Change: Selective Litigation, Judicial Bias, and Precedent

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  • Thomas J. Miceli

Abstract

A key question in the literature on legal change is whether the law evolves via the conscious efforts of judges or is the result of invisible-hand processes. This paper confirms Priest's claim that when judges are unbiased, selective litigation alone can cause the law to evolve toward efficiency. However, when judges are biased, the direction of legal change depends on whether the extent of judicial bias is large enough to overcome the selective litigation effect. The paper also shows that the desirability of binding precedent lies in its ability to restrain biased judges from driving the law away from efficiency. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Legal Studies.

Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 157-168

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:38:y:2009:i:1:p:157-168

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

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Cited by:
  1. Miceli, Thomas J., 2010. "Legal change and the social value of lawsuits," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 203-208, September.
  2. Thomas J. Miceli, 2008. "An Equilibrium Model of Lawmaking," Working papers 2008-16, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  3. Thomas J. Miceli, 2008. "The Social versus Private Incentive to Sue," Working papers 2008-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  4. Giorgio Rampa & Margherita Saraceno, 2014. "Beliefs and Precedent: The Dynamics of Access to Justice," DEM Working Papers Series 084, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management.
  5. Rustam Romaniuc, 2012. "Judicial Dissent under Externalities and Incomplete Information," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 6(3), pages 209-224, October.

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