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Empirical Study of the Civil Justice System


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  • Kessler, Daniel P.
  • Rubinfeld, Daniel L.
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    In this essay, we discuss empirical research on the economic effects of the civil justice system. We discuss research on the effects of three substantive bodies of law--contracts, torts, and property--and research on the effects of the litigation process. We begin with a review of studies of aggregate empirical trends and the important issues involving contracts and torts, both positive and normative. We survey some of the more interesting empirical issues, and we conclude with some suggestions for future work. Because studies involving property law are so divergent, there is no simple description of aggregates that adequately characterizes the subject. In its place, we offer an overview of a number of the most important issues of interest. We describe (selectively) the current state of empirical knowledge, and offer some suggestions for future work. The section on legal process builds on the previous substantive sections. With respect each of the steps, from violation to trial to appeal, we review some of the more important empirical contributions.

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    This chapter was published in:

  • A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell (ed.), 2007. "Handbook of Law and Economics," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1.
    This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Law and Economics with number 1-05.

    Handle: RePEc:eee:lawchp:1-05

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    Related research

    Keywords: civil justice; civil litigation; empirical; contract; tort; property; litigation;

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    Cited by:
    1. Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci & Eric Langlais, 2008. "Social Wealth and Optimal Care," EconomiX Working Papers 2008-34, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
    2. Dari-Mattiacci, Giuseppe & Deffains, Bruno & Lovat, Bruno, 2011. "The dynamics of the legal system," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(1-2), pages 95-107, June.
    3. Danielle Venn, 2009. "Legislation, Collective Bargaining and Enforcement: Updating the OECD Employment Protection Indicators," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 89, OECD Publishing.
    4. Fernando Gómez & Anna Ginès-Fabrellas & Ignacio Marín-García, 2009. "The State in Court: the economic effects of fee-shifting rules in Spain when suing the government," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 183-203, December.


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